stephen wills

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Meet the Terrorist Who Most Terrifies America’s Terrorist Hunters

His name is Ibrahim al-Asiri, he works for Al Qaeda, and he makes bombs for a living. Daniel Klaidman on the jihadi who keeps Obama up at night.<p>The …

To Make An Unbreakable Code, Use Quantum Physics

As soon as you try to crack it, the encryption changes.<p>During World War II, the Nazis used a famously complex code machine to communicate military orders, assuming that no one would go through the effort needed to break its formidable encryption. The typewriter-like Enigma was a marvel of …

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan

This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.<p>This doesn't always happen. "The …

The Week In Numbers: An Asteroid-Zapping Space Laser, The Worst Planets In The Universe, And More

<b>4,580 degrees Fahrenheit</b>: the surface temperature on exoplanet COROT-7b, one of the 10 worst places to live in the universe, according to NASA scientists<p><b>600 miles</b>: the diameter of the largest known asteroid, Ceres (could an asteroid impact knock the moon into Earth?)<p><b>70 gigawatts</b>: the power of a …

Poll: 71 percent of Americans say founding fathers would be disappointed

As the United States celebrates its independence, a new survey reveals most Americans believe the nation’s founding fathers would not agree with the way the Constitution is being followed today and would be disappointed with how the country has turned out.<p>The poll, released Thursday by Gallup, …

Alaska has been having a record-breaking heatwave

In Alaska, old records are being crushed as a heatwave has carried temperatures into the 80s and 90s. In one part of Alaska, an unofficial …

Zombies roam the animal kingdom — and some of them may be after us

The zombies in "World War Z" are just actors — but in the animal world, zombies are a fact of life. Evolution can come up with some fiendish twists: For example, there are some species that bend other creatures to their will to keep their bizarre life cycles going. Or just to feast on their …

Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden Reaches 100,000 Signatures

A petition demanding the US government pardons Edward Snowden, the former NSA agent whose leaks revealed the existence of the PRISM program and other spying revalations, has passed the 100,000 digital ‘signatures’ required to force a response from the President’s Office.<p>The timing of the milestone …

Bank of America whistle-blower’s bombshell: “We were told to lie”

<b>(Sashkin via Shutterstock/Salon)</b><p>Bombshell: Bank of America whistle-blowers detail horrid schemes to fleece borrowers, reward foreclosures (UPDATED)<p>David Dayen<p>June 18, 2013 11:45am (UTC)<p>Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan …

Technology that traced Osama bin Laden now used to extend life of cakes

It took 10 years and an elite unit from America's navy seals to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Now the technology used to track the most elusive …

Electric shock makes others look more attractive - Futurity

CALTECH (US) — People judged faces as more attractive after their brains were stimulated with …

These two psychological tricks will get people to do you favors

There are two well-established methods get what you want through roundabout ways. Both actually work in practical situations. What's the best way to …

Psychology

We're Making Less Effective Drugs Now Than 40 Years Ago

A new study examines the effectiveness of new drugs compared with placebo in drug trials from 1966 to 2010. The new drugs aren't looking so hot.<p>Apparently, the good ol' days really did shine brighter, at least for drug development. In decades past, clinical trials found that drugs were hugely …

Clint Eastwood: What I've Learned

Actor, 78<p><i>Born in San Francisco and raised throughout northern California, Eastwood attended Los Angeles City College under the G. I. Bill and served as mayor of Carmel, California from 1986 to 1988.</i><p><b>In the first place,</b> I was taller than most kids in my classes. In the second, we were always moving. …

YouTube 'destroying music', pianist says in angry protest

One of the world's leading concert pianists angrily exited a performance on Monday evening saying YouTube was "destroying music" after he caught a …

The Most YOLO Congressman On Facebook

You Only Legislate Once.

Why are there no gay Disney characters?

Unsurprisingly, the House of Mouse is way behind the curve when it comes to tackling LGBT issues<p>In an issue to go on sale in August, Archie Comics will feature a kiss between two openly gay characters, Kevin and his boyfriend Devon. The gay kiss (because just like “gay marriage,” it can’t be just a …

Hack in the USSR: cybercriminals find haven in .su domain space

The Soviet Union disappeared from the map more than two decades ago, but online an "evil empire" is thriving.<p>Security experts say the .su internet …

Russia's 2014 Olympic Medals Are Pretty Badass

This article is from the archive of our partner .<p>The organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi — the games are less than a year away! — …

Eating Yogurt Does Weird Things To Your Brain

How and why are tougher questions.<p>Does what you eat affect your body more, or your mind? Can you just chow down on Big Macs as far as the brain goes, and be pretty much set? Or is there a deeper connection between thinking and food?<p>A new UCLA study that's one part gross to three parts fascinating …

The Five Biggest Problems With The Xbox One

<i>From concerns over used games to questions about an always-online requirement, the Xbox One is growing more controversial by the day.</i><p>Sony’s PS4 reveal was met with mixed reactions by most gamers. This was largely due to the system’s mixed-bag debut—some things were good, some bad, but mostly it was …

Consciousness; it's a science thing | Jon Butterworth | Life & Physics

TEDxCERN was a lot of fun. The speakers were amazing, covering cosmology, cancer cures, underwater earthquakes, gender politics, ignoble bras, the …

This Incredible Full Scale Lego X-Wing Is the Largest Model In History

This is truly unbelievable: Lego has built a <i>1:1 scale model</i> of the X-Wing fighter using an astounding <i>5,335,200 bricks!</i> It's as big as the real thing, …

Lego

Xbox Reveal: 'One' Console To Rule Them All

Microsoft took the wraps off the Xbox One, its next-generation console today in a multimedia event that offered something thrilling for everyone. And it threw down the gauntlet at rival Sony in a major way, promising not only a state-of-the-art gaming experience, but a device designed to be at the …

Five ways to boost your Android phone's battery life right now

If you've ever caught yourself scanning a room for outlets, or worrying about how long you can eke out a charge on your phone, then this collection of battery-saving Android apps is for you.<p>These apps are helpful even if you've got a built-in battery-saving feature to help you in a dire situation, …

The Astronomical Cost of Building the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE

Microsoft planning Xbox dashboard UI and tile changes in preparation for next-gen console

Microsoft is preparing to update its Xbox 360 with another dashboard update. Sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox plans have revealed to <i>The Verge</i> that the dashboard update will enter into a public beta in late June or early July, with changes and updates in preparation for the next-generation …

10 Things The Samsung Galaxy S4 Can Do That The iPhone Can't

When the phone first came out, reviewers criticized Samsung for shoving too many complex and glitchy extras in the phone.<p>But there are some features in the GS4 that do work well and could be useful, and you won't find them in the GS4's chief rival, the iPhone.<p>Let's take a look at some of the best …