Mathex Wundrat

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Who will be remembered in 1,000 years?

Hopeful contenders for everlasting fame must run the gauntlet of numerous challenges, including the jealousy of rivals and possible extinction of their own civilisation and language. How do you remain remembered for generations?<p>I’m in the secluded western corner of London’s Highgate cemetery, …

Ancient History

The eight-day guide to a better digital life

Your apps, search engines and social networks know hidden things about you that even your closest friends might not. To find out just how much, Sophia Smith Galer tries a programme called the Data Detox.<p>I was dubious at first when I read about the Data Detox. It sounds like a guide to logging off, …

Social Media

Is skipping breakfast unhealthy?

As it turns out, there is no reason to feel terribly guilty if you can't stand eating anything in the early hours, or if you just prefer sleeping.<p>It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; that the habit of having it has a lot of good effects on your health. What does …

Breakfast

What if all animals had human intelligence?

If all animals had the rational thinking and self-awareness than humans do, our species (and the planet) would be in for a hard time.<p>Imagine a world à la Planet of the Apes, where every animal species has the same intelligence humans do. Chances are, it would be a messy disaster.<p>Find out why in the …

Animals

The truth about artificial sweeteners

They were promised as a guilt-free way to sweeten foods, but artificial sugar substitutes have gained a bad reputation in recent years. Should we use them with caution?<p>While there is no proof of the grim side-effects some people believe artificial sweeteners can cause, there is fierce debate among …

Artificial Sweeteners

Could just two people repopulate the whole Earth?

If Armageddon hit, and only one human couple was left, would they be enough to repopulate the planet?<p>We can't escape the laws of genetics. The task of repopulating the entire planet from the offspring of one single couple is burdened with many complications and diseases.<p>Have a look at the video to …

Science

How interactive movies let the audience explore their worst impulses

Will the future of theater be on your phone?<p>Moviegoing etiquette dictates that any cellphone use in a theater is bad form, but the film <i>Late Shift</i> challenges that dynamic. Viewers aren’t just encouraged to use their phones, they’re almost required to if they want to see the story progress.<p><i>Late …

You only need to do three things to make a great presentation

You’re in front of a group of people. Your jaw juts and words poke out almost by themselves. The room seems glazed. Its den of eyes stare out, but are turned off from the inside. CLICK. You make the next slide appear. It thumps to arrival. The eyes don’t stir.<p>You turn to the presentation. The …

Why video games are obsessed with the apocalypse

For decades, video games have had a fascination with the end of the world. Why is it that we find it so enjoyable to play games set in the ashes of our civilisation?<p>Video games are, in a way, the perfect medium through which to depict the post-apocalypse. If we assume that after the collapse of …

Anti-ageing: Is it possible, and would we want it?

Eternal youth has been a human preoccupation for millennia. But what would happen if we could actually halt the ageing process?<p>In the 1850s, the average life expectancy in the US at birth was only 40 years old. Now, the average American can expect to live until at least 78. Recent medical research …

University of Oxford

Why a German lab is growing tomatoes in urine

A strange experiment at the German space agency, DLR, may just feed future Mars expeditions.<p>A fish tank brimming with urine is the first thing you see when you enter Jens Hauslage’s cramped office at the German space agency, DLR, near Cologne. It sits on a shelf by his desk, surrounded by the usual …

FreedomPop launches a cheap phone to go with its free SIM

Well, this is unexpected. FreedomPop has unveiled its own Android phone today, for the darn-cheap-but-not-quite-free price of £59. The new FreedomPop V7 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 2,100mAh battery. Not the best components, but respectable ones given the asking …

Mobile Technology

The most extreme geothermal plant in the world

Iceland is known for its geothermal power – but to make the most of this natural resource, you need to go deep. BBC Future Now visits the hottest geothermal well ever made.<p>The last time anyone in Iceland tried to drill this deep they ran into trouble. In 2009, Iceland’s Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) …

Geology

Why is yawning so catching?

The reason you can’t help but mimic a yawner – explained in the video above.<p><b>Read more:</b> Yawning has puzzled scientists for more than two millennia. We investigated the science of why we do it.<p><i>Join 700,000+ Future fans by liking us on</i> <i>Facebook</i><i>, or follow us on</i> <i>Twitter</i><i>,</i> <i>Google+</i><i>,</i> <i>LinkedIn</i> <i>and</i> <i>Instagram</i>

Science

How the hoverboard went from fiction to fact

Marty McFly’s wheelless ride from Back to the Future II is with us in real life. How does it work? And what does it mean for future transport?<p>The hoverboard may have only been a reality in Michael J Fox’s 1989 film Back to the Future II, but that didn’t stop a generation of youngsters wanting one – …

The people who can’t go numb at the dentist’s

Some people are resistant to local anaesthetic, meaning they must endure dental and medical procedures without such pain relief. And we’re only beginning to understand why.<p>To Lori Lemon, the doctors all seemed flabbergasted. She had come in to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, to have a …

The seven ways you are totally unique

From your walk and your body odour to the shapes of your ears and your backside, scientists are finding many surprising ways of identifying you from the other seven billion people in the world.<p>At first glance Erin and Audri Nelson look identical. They have the same chocolate coloured hair, they …

Why an AI firm is busy smashing thousands of windows

Breaking glass, barking dogs and crying babies – to computers it's all just noise. But a new wave of artificial intelligence is being taught how to listen in.<p>In a sound-proofed hangar on an RAF airbase just north of Cambridge, UK, Chris Mitchell and his colleagues are busy using sledgehammers to …

Artificial Intelligence

Why pain is so hard to measure – and treat

It is surprisingly difficult to explain what we feel when we are hurt, so doctors are developing new ways of assessing and treating agony.<p>One night in May, my wife sat up in bed and said, “I’ve got this awful pain just here.” She prodded her abdomen and made a face. “It feels like something’s …

Pain

The next best thing to teleportation

Living in one country and working in another will soon be common, thanks to remote-control robots. Future Now spoke with economist Richard Baldwin about how this trend could change the world.<p><b>Your book talks about the new globalisation. What’s new?</b><p>It’s no longer about the flow of trade, but the flow …

Economics

The man who tried to photograph thoughts and dreams

A French Commandant’s belief that he could photograph the inner workings of the mind has important lessons for modern science.<p>Spare a thought for poor Madame Darget. How she must have sighed when her husband bounded over to the sofa in his office where she was attempting to rest. In his hands, he …

The Brain

The gaming tech that may help find alien life

An iconic Australian telescope has begun a major new search for ET – using some everyday tech to help locate signals.<p>The iconic Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia has witnessed the birth and death of star systems, unravelled cosmic mysteries and even relayed the first live TV …

Stephen Hawking

The AI that learns our habits and knows when people cheat

Detecting online crime typically means knowing what to look for. Artificial intelligence that spots hidden patterns can do it better – and even step in when behaviour gets out of hand.<p>For people who play the video game Counter Strike online, it's hard enough watching your back at the best of times. …

Machine Learning

Why do we feel hot and cold as pain?

When we feel something too hot or cold, our senses register pain. But why? And what’s causing it?<p>On the face of things, a hot waffle iron wouldn't seem to have all that much in common with a block of ice. But the two objects share the same capacity to inflict pain. Extreme heat and extreme cold are …

The tricks being played on you by UK roads

When you walk or drive in the UK, you’re being nudged by dozens of hidden messages embedded in the roads and pavements.<p>With a reassuring squeeze of my arm, Richard Holmes guides me along a busy city centre street. I’m wearing a special pair of glasses that have deprived me of my normally good …

What if the internet stopped working for a day?

For many people, going without the internet even for a few hours is unthinkable. But if it did stop working, the impact might not be what you'd expect.<p>Jeff Hancock likes to give his Stanford University students weekend assignments that let them experience concepts discussed in class for themselves. …

Net Neutrality

Why happy music makes you do bad things

There may be a surprising dark side to easy-listening and feel-good tracks.<p>From the distinctive opening “Whooah” to the recurring funky brass riff that follows each line of lyrics, James Brown’s hit song I Got You (I Feel Good) is a recipe for happiness.<p>The iconic track is arguably one of the most …

How popcorn became a much-loved snack

It’s a favourite for film fans and sofa snackers – and there’s some really special chemistry going on when popcorn does its pop.<p>Popcorn, that delicious, crunchy vehicle for butter, caramel and salt, is seeing its star rise. Americans already consume nearly 50 litres of popped corn a year each, on …

A Beginner's Guide to Automating Your Digital Life

With apps like IFTTT and Flow, you can make your world smarter without buying a thing.<p>IFTTT (If This Then That) and Flow are both incredibly useful apps that are also pretty hard to describe. Basically, they let you plug different apps and services together, from Facebook and Instagram to iOS and …

Apps

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

As an astrophysicist, I am always struck by the fact that even the wildest science-fiction stories tend to be distinctly human in character. No …