Ready for election season to be over? Maybe it's time to curl up with a good sitcom and wait this thing out. Except new research out of Australia suggests that, sometimes, we actually find the presidential debates funnier than sitcoms. Through non-invasive procedures, such as monitoring the muscles used in smiling, researchers determined that subjects laughed more on average during popular sitcoms but that the intensity of laughter was higher in moments of the presidential debates. (Obama's zinger about Romney having a big pension rated high on the funny scale.) No word on if they'll renew the debates for another season. [PhysOrg]
From robots to disembodied personal assistants to personalized advertising bots, autonomous machines promise to make our future lives simpler and more comfy. And potentially a lot more hilarious. Though machines are not designed to be funny, sometimes they just are, in an unintentional and ridiculous and almost adorable way. Consider, for example, @Horse_ebooks.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.