Nicholas Hokanson

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Facebook Messenger bots are here and they want to kill apps

As predicted, developers can now build bots inside Facebook Messenger.<p>The announcement was one of the highlights of Facebook’s jam-packed F8 schedule …

What the Best CEOs on Earth Do Better

What differentiates an exceptionally happy workplace from others? Workplace well-being is the current big buzzword. Mostly ignored in the past, …

Employee Engagement

The detectives watching you from space

Modern detectives use a variety of new technologies to help them solve cases. Paul Marks meets the agency harnessing a new tool – satellites.<p>Fans of crime writer Raymond Chandler’s wise-cracking prose would no doubt be pleased that there’s a real-life private detective agency run by two men called …

Imaging

The ‘darker link’ between ancient human sacrifice and our modern world

In Japan, it was said that sacrificing a woman at a rushing river would placate the spirit who lived there, allowing for the construction of bridges and the safe passage of boats. In Greek myth, the warrior king Agamemnon decides to kill his own daughter in exchange for a favorable wind on the way …

Anthropology

Why some cultures love the tastes you hate

Why do some cultures find one taste delectable and another disgusting? BBC Future investigates.<p>When I was visiting Shanghai, I learned to avoid a certain alley on my walk to the underground system. It always smelled incredibly, almost unbelievably bad – like there was an open sewer on the sidewalk. …

Building on Tradition — 1,400 Years of a Family Business

<b>Works That Work, No.3</b>,<p>Before its liquidation, Kongō Gumi was the oldest continuously operating company in the world. Founded in Japan a mere century …

Family Business

The conman who pulled off history’s most audacious scam

How do you make someone bend to your will? In an extract from her new book on con artists, Maria Konnikova finds answers by exploring the psychological tricks of one of history’s most shocking fraudsters.<p>In October 1822, Gregor MacGregor, a native of Glengyle, Scotland, made a striking …

The man who studies the spread of ignorance

How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge? Georgina Kenyon finds there is a term which defines this phenomenon.<p><i>This story is featured in BBC Future’s “Best of 2016” collection. Discover more of our picks.</i><p>In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco …

UC Berkeley

You Don’t Need More Free Time

AMERICANS work some of the longest hours in the Western world, and many struggle to achieve a healthy balance between work and life. As a result, there is an understandable tendency to assume that the problem we face is one of <i>quantity</i>: We simply do not have enough free time. “If I could just get a …

Stanford University

It's official: Four super-heavy elements to be added to the periodic table

The periodic table is about to get a little bit longer, thanks to the addition of four new super-heavy elements.<p>The discoveries of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 were officially confirmed late last week by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. The group is tasked with vetting the …

Chemistry

Africa’s Honey Fences – Using Beehives to Keep Elephants at Bay

Thanks to zoologist Dr Lucy King, farmers in rural Africa no longer need to worry about elephants wrecking their fields. Through ‘The Elephants and …

Taiwan's 'Strawberry Generation' Reaches Out To The Young And Trendy

Taiwan's millennials are known as the "strawberry generation," and it's not a compliment.<p>In their own eyes, the millennials are helping to turn the capital city Taipei into something hipper, a place that embraces creativity and innovation. Some have gone as far as calling the city Taiwan's answer …

In This Picturesque Village, the Rent Hasn't Been Raised Since 1520

Tenants in German Enclave Pray Daily, For Good Fortune and the Souls of Bankers<p>AUGSBURG, Germany -- Every day, retired florist Rita Wunderle prays for the souls of bankers.<p>Despite daily headlines about banker-fueled economic crisis and an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, her 145 neighbors pray, …

Catholicism

Bid to drill deep inside Earth

<b>Scientists will set out this week to drill a hole into the Indian Ocean floor to try to get below the Earth's crust for the first time.</b><p>They want to sample rock from the planet's mantle - its deep interior.<p>In the process, the researchers hope to check their assumptions about the materials from which …

Ghostly ships filled with bodies arrive on Japan's shores

<b>(CNN) —</b> An unsettling mystery has washed up on Japan's shores.<p>Over the past two months, at least 12 wooden boats have been found adrift or on the coast, carrying chilling cargo -- the decaying bodies of 22 people, police and Japan's coast guard said.<p>All the bodies were "partially skeletonized" -- …

North Korea

If We Don't See Beirut News, Is Facebook to Blame?

The recent bombings in Paris, and the outpouring of sympathy about those attacks, has sparked an ongoing debate about why there hasn’t been as much …

Will emoji become a new language?

Emoji are already butting their heads with traditional words, but could they take over completely? Linguist Neil Cohn casts his expert eye over the pictures taking the world by storm.<p>The year 2015 could be called the year of the emoji. They have landed a teenage boy in a police cell and prompted …

Language

This New Smartphone Does Absolutely Nothing

Paul Thompson—FPG/Getty Images<p>Keystone/Holton/Getty Images<p>Kypros/Getty Images<p>Lyn Alweis—Denver Post/Getty Images<p>Bill Dow—NBC/Getty Images<p>Mark …

Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalities

In an essay published on Monday, <i>New Republic</i> Senior Editor Noam Scheiber—who grew up speaking both Hebrew and English—explains why he stopped …

What’s a Saint, Anyway?

As the pope canonizes a controversial figure, it’s worth remembering the centuries of controversy surrounding sainthood itself.<p>How does a person get canonized? Or, to be more precise, what is it that distinguishes the 10,000 or so official Catholic saints from the rest of us 1.2 billion Catholic …

Christianity

The baker behind Macau’s famous egg custard tarts

Although initially a Portuguese import, Macau’s egg tarts have a surprisingly English twist, and have transformed Coloane into a sort of pilgrimage for pastry-loving travellers<p>Commonly considered a Portuguese import, Macau’s most iconic version of treat was actually born from the unbridled energy …

Dessert

Meet The 80 People Who Are As Rich As Half The World

Eighty people hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, according to an analysis just released from Oxfam. The report …

People Sometimes Like Stinky Things—Here’s Why

<i>Updated September 30, 2015</i><p>A corpse flower smells like a heady mix of rotten fish, sewage, and dead bodies. It’s a stench meant to draw flies, but just as surely, it draws tourists. Braving a blustery Chicago night, thousands of people lined up Tuesday for a whiff of a corpse flower named Alice at …

Look Up! There’s an Invisible Zombie Highway Right Above You

Step outside on a clear day this summer and look up.<p>What do you see? Blue. Nothing more. Or so you think.<p>But surprise! In July and August, an enormous herd of animals is passing directly over our heads. There are so many creatures up there, creatures that are so busy, so athletic, so tiny, so …

Pollution-Eating Tower Would Turn Smog Into Rings And Cufflinks

Not as sparkly as a diamond, but much better for the environment<p>Once you suck smog out of the air, what should you do with it? Pollution particles are mostly made up of carbon, so Dutch Artist Daan Roosegaarde decided to compress them into jewelry in a nod to diamond, carbon's sparkliest …

Nepal’s Worshiped Child Goddesses Whose Feet Cannot Touch the Ground until Puberty

Nepal is a land of mysticism, where a select few pre-pubescent girls from the Newar clan are worshiped as ‘Kumari Devi’ or ‘Virgin Goddess’. …