Corey Rolfes

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A Tale of Two Countries: Zimbabwe and Botswana, Neighbors with Opposing Attitudes toward Wildlife

Changing Planet<p>On a recent tour into Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park – where white and black rhinos are being reintroduced – our group noticed that the horn of a white rhino we spotted was removed. I asked our guide why. “To deter poachers,” he replied. Knowing that even the small stump that …

The falling costs of US solar power, in 7 charts

The fate of the world depends on driving down the cost of solar power.<p>Yes, that’s a melodramatic way of putting it. But it’s not wrong. Any scenario that has humanity avoiding the worst ravages of climate change involves explosive global growth in solar power.<p>That’s why the US Department of Energy …

Solar Power

In the 19th century, European visitors to this abandoned medieval city refused to believe that indigenous Africans could have built such an extensive network of monuments. Such ignorance was disastrous for the remains of Great Zimbabwe<p>In the early 16th century, rumours of a mysterious fortress with …

Archaeology

The foundation of al-Mansur’s ‘Round City’ in 762 was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. It developed into the cultural centre of the world<p>If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious …

20th Century

David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue

Last summer, early in the morning, I stood out in the main square of Florence to watch the tourists come in. It was quiet. A Zamboni-like street cleaner drove its rounds, leaving wet circles on the paving stones. A vendor unpacked tarp-wrapped souvenirs from the back of his white van. When the …

Mystery planets and strange orbits: what is lurking in the far reaches of our solar system?

Whether it's 'my very early morning jam sandwich' or 'many vile earthlings', everyone has a memorable way to list off the planets in our solar system.<p>…

This Breathtaking Chart Shows Just How Far Humans Have Ventured into Space

At least, how far our probes have explored.<p>The solar system is big. It may stretch out up to a light year across, depending on the outer boundary of the Oort Cloud. But considering it's barely been 50 years since humanity has launched objects into space, it's amazing where we've been able to …

Astronomy

Niger is the most amazing country I never expected to visit

Chances are you'll never get to go to Niger. I never thought I'd get to go there either.<p>It's landlocked and mostly desert. The only non-African cities that offer direct flights are Paris and Istanbul. The desert northeast used to get tourists who wanted to see the sand-dune oceans and oases of the …

Inside Ikea's top-secret lab

Supply and demand are predicated on getting the balances just right, making sure factories fulfil existing orders, avoiding excessive surplus, and …

A Love Letter to the Fiat 500: The New Popemobile

Confession: I am the proud owner of a Fiat Cinquecento named Putt-Putt. He’s light blue and makes zoom-zoom noises like a toy car. Kids love it; I love it. So you can imagine that I was thrilled that <b>Pope Francis</b> was picked up from Joint Base Andrews in a model 500L. It was a symbolic moment laden …

Classic Cars

Four future space technologies that will change the world in your lifetime

From ending natural disasters, to flying to Sydney in an hour, scientists are working on future technologies to solve some of humanity's biggest challenges<p>Imagine a world where severe storms, tornadoes, and flash flooding are no longer a threat to human life. Or a time when flying from London to …

A Brief History of the Tea Bag

A way to get a self-contained, no-muss jolt of caffeine may seem like a quintessentially 21st-century need—but the original single-serving, …

How Edward Snowden Inadvertently Helped Vladimir Putin's Internet Crackdown

Edward Snowden's exposés of the National Security Agency's global surveillance sparked calls to roll them back around the world. But in Russia, where he claimed asylum, Vladimir Putin's censors seized on his revelations to justify unprecedented control over the internet — and expand the Kremlin's …

The Most Interesting Part of Pizza Delivery Is the Story Behind the Box

The pizza box is iconic, an essential part of any worthwhile take-out experience. Meet the woman who designs most of the pizza boxes you know and love.<p>With a knock on the door and a box in your hands, you know your pizza's arrived. The pizza box has been keeping it safe for a half hour or more, …

Saks Fifth Avenue

Samsung's more daring phone designs: a visual history

With Samsung poised to reveal its latest take(s) on the smartphone in a matter of hours, we thought it was as good a time as any to take a look back. The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are rumored to be on tap for tomorrow's festivities, two devices that would continue the company's affinity for …

The Race to Build the Perfect Camera

Photo Finish<p>The last century has witnessed endless innovation in camera technology. Here, courtesy of Clifton Cameras, is a timeline to help you sort …

Creative Commons

Photograph: Tim Knox<p>Skip Lievsay in his sound studio in Manhattan.<p>276<p>http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/7/21/1437486693938/a9864c60-ca84-4ef7-b5e6-53a1149d1eda-460x276.jpeg<p>460<p>Photograph: Tim Knox<p>Skip Lievsay in his sound studio in …

Battlestar Galactica

How the Family of the Man Who Discovered Pluto Feel About the New Horizons Flyby

Clyde Tombaugh's ashes sailed past Pluto yesterday. Here's how his children felt as the first close-ups came in.<p>In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh spotted a moving object between a series of photographic plates taken at the Lowell Observatory. It wasn't quite the Planet X that was first reported. But the …

Solar System

How a bunch of government space geeks at NASA won the internet

In an era when the media whips itself into a frenzy over how to make things go viral, and marketers take their cues from big brands, a government entity has quickly and quietly become the darling of the internet.<p>Those searching for proof need look no further than this week’s Pluto flyby. After a …

CERN's Large Hadron Collider has discovered a new class of particle

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have announced the discovery of the pentaquark, a class of subatomic particle consisting of four quarks and one antiquark bound together. Like the Higgs boson before it, the pentaquark's existence has been theorized for years, but experiments in the …

The Pluto Encounter Means More Than You Think

DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>DigitalGlobe—Getty Images<p>…

Everything Science Knows About Reading On Screens

We’ve adapted our reading habits to fit our screens, but at a cost.<p>Thanks to technology, we’re reading more than ever—our brains process thousands of words via text messages, email, games, social media, and web stories. According to one report, the amount people that read tripled from 1980 to the …

The Netherlands: A Look At The World’s High-Tech Startup Capital

It’s a fascinating time to take stock of startup innovation in the Netherlands, a rare turning point where you can watch the hard work of the past give way to the immense promise of the future.<p>Behind London and Berlin, the Dutch startup scene is already considered to be one of the most prominent in …

Bone weakness is a significant problem for astronauts, but a unique biological process that occurs in hibernating bears could be the basis for a new therapy<p>Astronauts could protect themselves against bone wastage by harnessing a unique biological process that allows black bears to maintain their …

Space Travel

All Dolled Up: The Enduring Triumph of American Girl

How does a brand be everything to every girl?<p>And if you were a nine-year-old girl at any point during the last 30 years, you are almost certainly familiar with American Girl. It very well may have been an essential part of your nine-year-old girldom. From the beginning, from the time it was a mere …

Kids

A Visual Guide To All Of Those Unpronounceable Ingredients In Processed Food

What do those mystery chemicals actually do? Take a tour of the most common additives to find out how food scientists modify what you eat.<p>If you’ve ever perused an ingredient list and wondered why there’s polyglycerol polyricinoleate in your candy bar or tertiary-butylhydroquinone in your cereal–or …

Photograph: Norbert von der Groeben/The Observer New Review<p>Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, still owns around 16% of the company.<p>276<p>image/jpeg<p>http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/7/3/1435921855071/ea0a35e0-17eb-4b36-8d63-3f8a7e8e8f5f-460x276.jpeg<p>460<p>Photograph: Norbert …

Top Gear

Technology and The Evolution of Storytelling

by John Lasseter<p>It is such an exciting time to be a filmmaker.<p>I do not believe the notion that the cinema is dying or dead because it’s amazing what …

Animation

How Shake Shack Leads The Better Burger Revolution

How Shake Shack has customers (and many investors) salivating for its burgers and unique brand of hospitality.<p>“I bet no CEO of a company has said this to his team,” Shake Shack leader Randy Garutti tells a roomful of employees. “I want to challenge you to put us out of business.”<p>It’s less than 30 …

What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page?

Amazon is about to find out.<p>When I recently learned of Amazon's new plan to pay some authors for each page that a Kindle user reads, I remembered an editor who looked at my one of my book proposals and said something along the lines of, “It feels like you've only got 20,000 words of material. You …

Writing