Michael Womack

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10 Lessons I Learned from a Year of Productivity Experiments

Over the last 12 months I have conducted countless productivity experiments on myself, interviewed some of the most productive people in the world, …

Heads or tails: Experimental quantum coin flipping cryptography performs better than classical protocols

"In quantum coin flipping," Pappa explains, "the players do not trust each other, since both want to win the coin flip, so they try to cheat by …

An Anonymous Rich Person Is Hiding Money All Around San Francisco

If you live in San Francisco, be on the lookout for some mysterious white envelopes -- they may contain $100 bills.<p>An anonymous person is dropping off sums of money around the city and then tweeting hints about the locations in a project called "Hidden Cash."<p>The person behind Hidden Cash told The …

The camera on your phone might be the best defense you have

Could random data from your smartphone save you from hackers?<p>Could your cellphone camera give a boost to cryptography programs that help protect your data? That was the pitch that surfaced in a paper this week from a group of researchers at the University of Geneva. The paper studied the visual …

Malba Tahan: the literary hoaxer who made Brazil love maths

I have two specialisms: Brazil and mathematics.<p>My first book <i>Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life</i> was about Brazilian football, and my most recent one, <i>Alex Through The Looking-Glass</i>, is about numbers.<p>But what about the intersection of these areas – in the Venn diagram of my literary life – where …

Experiment backs up theory on beam-like jets in space

Researchers have used plasma flows in a laboratory to understand how beam-like jets may form in space.<p>Streaming jets of high-speed matter produce …

Dark Matter Might Be Hiding In Microscopic Black Holes, Astrophysicists Say

Dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that makes up most of the material universe, might be hiding itself in microscopic black holes, says a team of Russian astrophysicists.<p>No one knows what dark matter is. But scientists do know that it must exist, because there is not enough visible …

NASA's prettiest spaceship yet will take actual photos of alien worlds

PlanetQuest is NASA's effort to search for new Earths, exoplanets like ours that would probably contain life too. They're doing some really cool …

Fan-made video pits Mario against Lara Croft, Master Chief

Lara Croft, Master Chief and a deadly assassin are no match for Mario, as demonstrated by a recent live-action, fan-made video from CorridorDigital.<p>"Powered UP!" sets the stage for a quick getaway by Lara and company. However, after retrieving Mario's famous power-ups, the trio quickly finds …

Deceased Researcher’s Message In A Bottle Discovered In The Arctic

The message is dated July 10, 1959.<p>In the northernmost reaches of the Canadian Arctic, 500 miles (800 kilometers) away from the nearest human settlement, researchers discovered a literal message in a bottle, Halifax’s <i>Herald News</i> reports.<p>It begins just like the worst examples of cover letters on the …

Associated Press News

The Year’s Most Beautiful Photos From Space

Cosmic photography is always breathtaking, so a full year’s worth of images provides plenty of choices. Here are some of 2013’s highlights.

New research maps the secret structure of the sun

A discovery that could help explain everything from solar storms to sunspots<p><i>The phenomenon of solar flares, as seen above, might be better understood thanks to the discovery of giant cells.</i><p>Nearly half a century ago, scientists started to unravel the structure of the sun and determine how solar …

Peter Higgs interview: 'I have this kind of underlying incompetence'

The story of the physicist who gave his name to the Higgs boson particle is a charming tale about a quintessentially British national treasure. Ever since Peter Higgs was named as this year's Nobel prize winner, the tale has been endlessly retold, and goes like this.<p>Higgs struck upon his theory …

Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement May Be Linked

This advance is so meta. Theoretical physicists have forged a connection between the concept of entanglement—itself a mysterious quantum mechanical …

Genius materials on the ISS

With proper coaxing, molecules in microgravity can assemble themselves into forms with surprising properties. This new NASA ScienceCast video …

Particles

Does the positron 'excess' really exist?

The positron “excess” measured by two independent space missions and linked by some physicists to dark matter or pulsars does not exist, according to …

How many galaxies can you see? This week's Silicon Tally

3 hours. 20-50 photos. 50 students. 11 percent. 7 billionaires. 3 galaxies. 4 flavors.<p>The numbers mean it's time for Silicon Tally again, Marketplace Tech's weekly quiz.<p>This week, Ben puts NYMag.com columnist and maker of hilarious pie charts for The Hairpin Ann Friedman to the test.<p><i>You can play</i> …

Device uses light to split water into clean hydrogen

Scientists have developed an inexpensive device that uses light to split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen.<p>The water splitter is a silicon …

Why Underwater Robots Should Swim Like Stingrays

A stingray's efficient way of moving through the water could help engineers design better underwater robots.<p>The homely stingray's method of flying through the water could help us design a whole new class of bio-inspired 'bots, according to mechanical engineers from the University at Buffalo in New …

Heavy atoms help give black hole jets their power

Jets of a black hole known as 4U1630-47 contains heavy particles, such as iron and nickel. It helps explain why black hole jets pack such a …

Advanced Mathematics With Legos In A Washing Machine

Science with colorful bricks<p>Every generation, a scientific paper comes along that rocks the very foundations of research, upturns our sense of the world, leaves us collapsed, in awe at everything that we, for all of our work, still fail to comprehend about the universe. "Random Structures from Lego …

Researchers close in on experiments that could solve physics' 'biggest single problem'

The theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity have held up time and again at describing the physics of our universe at a micro and a macro scale, but when it comes to gravity, the two pose a major problem that physicists haven't been able to resolve: for certain interactions, the two …

Astrophysics: Fire in the hole!

Will an astronaut who falls into a black hole be crushed or burned to a crisp?<p>In March 2012, Joseph Polchinski began to contemplate suicide — at …

The devil you know: inside the world of a psychopathic scientist

James Fallon has the biology of a stone-cold killer — and he would know<p>James Fallon is a happily married father of three, an award-winning neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, the founder of several successful biotech companies, and a scientific advisor to the US Department of …