Austin Lucas

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Anyone who wants to be president needs to understand these 5 maps

Maps shape how we see the world.<p>But most of the maps hanging on our walls are dangerously incomplete because they emphasize political borders rather than functional connections.<p>The world has less than 500,000 kilometers of borders.<p>By comparison, it has 64 million km of highways, 4 million km of …

Between Trump and tech, never before have so many powerful people been so intent on transforming government into a business<p>It’s a hot day in New York City. You’re thirsty, but your water bottle is empty. So you walk into a store and place your bottle in a machine. You activate the machine with an …

Costa Rica

Singapore's jaw-dropping new airport has the world's largest indoor waterfall

Air travel is usually a nightmare, but Singapore’s new Jewel Changi Airport extension is taking the sting out of the experience with a lush jungle …

How An Entire Nation Became Russia's Test Lab for Cyberwar

<b>The clocks read</b> zero when the lights went out.<p>It was a Saturday night last December, and Oleksii Yasinsky was sitting on the couch with his wife and …

Cybersecurity

Why the Supreme Court’s decision to review Wisconsin’s gerrymandering is such a big deal

The Supreme Court will hear a case on political gerrymandering that could reshape the way states draw their congressional districts for decades to come.<p>Last year a federal court found that Wisconsin's congressional districts, created by the state's Republican lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. …

Technology enables employers to erode our autonomy, and lax laws let exploitation thrive<p>The biggest threat to our jobs is the rise of the robots, or so we’re told by report after report. And so an idea has taken root in our collective psyche that there may be a point in the not-too-distant future …

Artificial Intelligence

Coding is not “fun,” it’s technically and ethically complex

Programming computers is a piece of cake. Or so the world’s digital-skills gurus would have us believe. From the non-profit Code.org’s promise that “Anybody can learn!” to Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s comment that writing code is “fun and interactive,” the art and science of making software is …

Tim Cook

The fall of Juicero isn’t just entertaining tech industry stupidity – it’s the sign of a country refusing to break new ground<p>If you’ve used the internet at any point in the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard of Juicero. Juicero is a San Francisco-based company that sells a $400 juicer. Here’s …

Tech Industry

Almost every speed limit is too low

When lieutenant Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police attends a meeting, he sometimes asks, “How many of you broke the speed limit on your way here?”<p>Hearing his question, you might assume that lieutenant Megge is a particularly zealous police officer. The type of person who walks half a city …

How One Generation Changed The Way We Think About Furniture

You throw away most of what you buy in your twenties. You buy a nice couch right around age 34. But do millennials actually care about furniture?<p><b>There’s a couch</b> that’s in the backdrop of so many of my childhood photos, and if I concentrate, I can feel its texture: a bushy velvet, soft and pliant. …

Washington State

Could direct drive actuators push robots into the mainstream?

Genesis Robotics has patented a new type of actuator that eliminates the need for a gearbox.<p>Despite major advancements in robotics and the huge …

System can 3-D print an entire building

3D

What ‘personal space’ looks like around the world

If you've traveled even a little bit, you’ve surely had the experience of sharing a public space with someone (or many someones) who wants to stand closer to you than you’d allow your partner most of the time. (I often had this experience at the ATMs in Baku, Azerbaijan, where crowding has replaced …

Starbucks is entering a new era — and 4 jokes reveal the biggest problems haunting its business

The other weekend I went with my family to a coffee shop that my mother deemed "the most beautiful" Starbucks she'd ever seen.<p>It was a sprawling, comfortable space on the main street in suburban Michigan, where we were visiting family. The exterior was covered in wood shingles and river rocks. …

Modpool Shipping Container Pools

Relocatable and convertible with a shockingly quick set-up time, Modpool Shipping Container Pools are intriguing alternatives to traditional pools. …

Meet Tarzan, the swinging robot farmer inspired by a sloth

Robots are likely to play a big role in the future of farming and agriculture. Engineers in Japan have already created a fully autonomous 'robot run' …

UNDERCOVER IN AN IPHONE FACTORY: What it's really like to work in a Chinese mega-factory, according to a student who spent 6 weeks there

Imagine going to work at 7:30 every night and spending the next 12 hours, including meals and breaks, inside a factory where your only job is to insert a single screw into the back of a smartphone, repeating the task over and over and over again.<p>During the day, you sleep in a shared dorm room, and …

Do the Culture Wars Really Represent America?

A new book argues that the country needs to reclaim the “vital center” of politics.<p>Depending on who you’re talking to, the story of America’s founding may be told very differently. Some liberals might describe a nation animated by secular Enlightenment values, where freedom from religion is just as …

Religion

What Does 'Cultural Appropriation' Actually Mean?

An Atlantic writer and a Cato Institute scholar debate the value and limits of the term.<p>Last month, the long-running debate about cultural appropriation was rekindled when several protests over a painting at the Whitney Museum made national headlines. “Open Casket” depicted the body of Emmett Till, …

Cultural Appropriation

Justice Thomas's Doubts About Civil Forfeiture

The Supreme Court justice reiterated his wariness of the controversial police tactic earlier this month. A new Justice Department report seems to support his concern.<p>The U.S. Supreme Court receives thousands of appeals from the nation’s lower courts each year. It declines to hear almost all of …

Profit

Ask Ethan: What's The Difference Between A Fermion And A Boson?

There are only two types of fundamental particle known in the entire Universe: fermions and bosons. Every particle — in addition to the normal properties you know like mass and electric charge — has an intrinsic amount of angular momentum to it, colloquially known as spin. Particles with spins that …

Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things

A seemingly silly gesture is done for the sake of safety.<p>It is hard to miss when taking the train in Tokyo. White-gloved employees in crisp uniforms …

Japan

Build your own tiny home or treehouse with these stackable wooden micro-units

If you’ve ever wanted to build your own tiny home or treehouse, this wild design might give you some ideas. These self-contained wooden living units …

Breathtaking Stained-Glass Cabin Looks Ripped from a Fairytale

Neile Cooper’s handcrafted glass abode is made entirely of reclaimed materials and it is stunning.<p>A miniature house made from glass shows off expert construction and dazzling motifs seemingly ripped from <i>Alice In Wonderland</i>. Covered with stained glass, the house sits on a stretch of luscious green …

What America Stood For

"Where people are desperate, it is still America they count on, whether they love or scorn it, and America they blame when aid does not come."<p>After Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election in November, a foreign ambassador accosted one of my deputies at the State Department, where …

Political Science

These maps show you the noisiest places to live in California

It's probably no surprise, but some of the noisier parts of California can be found around airports and freeways.<p>The U.S. Department of Transportation released maps this week measuring transportation-related noise. Anyone who lives near an airport can tell you it's loud. According to the map, the …

How the First Amendment Applies to Trump’s Presidency

One of the strangest sentences in American law comes from Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. “Under the First Amendment,” he wrote, in 1974, “there is no such thing as a false idea.” That is not a decree that the world brims with truth. He meant that we rely on the marketplace of ideas, rather than on …

Trump Is Defining the Presidency Down

The president may not realize it, but his conduct is making his office less powerful, less relevant and less influential.<p>It is probably too much to expect President Donald Trump to have read “Defining Deviancy Down,” the 1993 essay by the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Much noted at …

Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power

Germany is embarking on an innovative project to turn a hard coal mine into a giant battery that can store surplus solar and wind energy and release …

Hydroelectric Power