akhil mahajan

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Why People Love Tipping Waiters

As an economic phenomenon, tipping is really weird. As a psychological phenomenon, it's something else entirely.<p>When the Linkery, a small San Diego restaurant, shuttered its doors this summer, it ended a fascinating social experiment. The Linkery had instituted a standard 18 percent service charge …

Commercial Quantum Computer Actually Works, According To New Testing

Spooky stuff is really happening in the world's first commercially available quantum processor.<p>Since the Canadian company D-Wave began selling so-called quantum processors, experts have debated whether they're truly quantum. Now, according to an analysis by academic physicists they really do show …

Space Wind Really Does Exist

We detect a plasmaspheric breeze.<p>More than 20 years ago, researchers proposed the existence of a space wind--a steady flow of charged particles--inside the Earth's magnetosphere, the region of space governed by our magnetic field. After years of theoretical work, Iannis Dandouras, an astrophysicist …

The Future Of Flight: Planes That Never Need To Land

Perpetual flight is going, so get ready for planes that just keep going and going and going...<p>In 1883, Nobel laureate John Strutt, a physicist and the third Baron Rayleigh, put forward a radical idea. He had been studying the mechanics of pelican flight and proposed that the birds drew energy from …

What Happens When Stars Collide?

In this case, you get a newly observed kind of pulsating star.<p>It sure would be interesting to watch two stars run into each other — from a safe distance, of course. One can imagine there would be quite the titanic battle going on between their competing gravitational forces, throwing off gas and …

A Prison Fit For Supervillains And Other Amazing Images From This Week