The Martian rock recently named N165 found itself thrust into the limelight this week as it received a new neighbor from Earth--the Mars rover Curiosity. Some genius made a Twitter account from the perspective of N165 as it meets Curiosity, attempts to make friends--and is ruthlessly attacked.
In the short time since the opening ceremonies of the London Games, we've seen the usual kind of Twitter-related stories--a Swiss soccer player banned for a racist tweet, everybody everywhere voicing their complaints about NBC's mostly abysmal coverage, that kind of thing. But there's some weirder, darker undercurrents going on, with journalists blocked, kids arrested, and free speech on Twitter seeming a much more questionable right than it might have seemed during the Arab Spring.
In a crowded urban area like New York City, it’s impossible to keep your distance from people who may be sick. If you’ve left your apartment--and maybe even if you haven’t--there’s a decent chance you’ve been around someone who is under the weather and there’s really no way you could know it.
In honor of World Meteorological Day, it makes sense to take a closer look at the highly unusual winter and spring we've had so far. Mother Jones has a roundup of these experts--and some regular folks (with hefty Twitter followings) being wowed and amazed by the warmth of the season, which has already broken scores of records across North America. Our favorite? The Deputy Director of the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls it "incredible" and "mind-boggling." Unclear what this means for the climbability of various mountains. [Mother Jones]
How quickly can an organically grown network of manhunters find five fugitives in five different countries? Later this month, the U.S. State Department aims to find out. The Tag Challenge will pay $5,000 to the people who find all of them first.
Neil de Grasse Tyson's ever-entertaining podcast, Star Talk, is recording another live episode tonight, here in New York. He'll be joined by comedian Eugene Mirman and other guests--past guests have included comedians Kristen Schaal and John Hodgman, actor Alan Alda, and astronaut Mike Massimino, so we have our hopes firmly planted very high up for some great guests tonight. We'll be there, tweeting our favorite one-liners and thoughts on the intersection between science nerds and bearded bespectacled Brooklynites, so check out @PopSci starting around 8PM tonight.
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.
With cellular carriers changing their pricing, now is the time to start cutting data usage – and that exorbitant phone bill.
By Darren Murph
Posted 12.28.2011 at 4:00 pm 32 Comments
The average smartphone user consumed 89 percent more megabytes of data in the first quarter of 2011 than in the same period last year. But the era of unlimited data is almost over as, more and more, cellular carriers are instituting tiered pricing plans. To avoid overage fees, you’ll need to rein in data consumption. Cutting back doesn’t have to be painful, though. A few tweaks to the phone will reduce the data stream considerably, and certain apps and browsers can bring even greater savings.
How can a digital mastermind take his ideas to the physical world?
By Mark Jannot
Posted 11.28.2011 at 11:10 am 1 Comment
Joi Ito was an early investor in some of the most influential and successful internet properties of the past half-decade, including Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, and Kickstarter. Now, as the new director of the MIT Media Lab, he's applying his digital savvy to innovating in the material world. PopSci's editor-in-chief, Mark Jannot, sat down with Ito--well, Skyped, at least--to find out more about how Ito plans to foster innovation and make gadgets great.
IFTTT, a very simple web tool that might end up becoming indispensable, has just opened to the public, with some new features in tow. IFTTT stands for "if this, then that," a common developer's phrase that indicates a relationship between two events. IFTTT takes that phrase and makes it simple to use for everyone. Want to automatically send your starred Google Reader items to Instapaper? Or get an SMS alert when your favorite comedian tweets that he's coming to your hometown? All easily done, with no development savvy required.
Social media can be problematic for professionals who don't want their bosses to see unflattering college party photos. But it’s even worse for people whose livelihood literally depends on anonymity, like undercover cops. What happens if the gang you’ve infiltrated finds your grinning mug in Facebook photos from the police union annual picnic?
Things are bad in England. In addition to arresting some 1,100 people and nearly tripling the number of police officers in London, police forces have been attempting to use technology to rein in the looting and rioting in the various English cities. The thing is, the looters and rioters are much better at using technology than the authorities, often using social media--including Twitter, Facebook, and the very popular (more so than here in North America) BlackBerry Messenger--to coordinate looting and stay a few steps ahead of the police. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has a distinctly, well, almost Chinese response to that: shut 'em all down.
It’s a good rule of thumb that you shouldn’t post anything to the Internet that you don’t want your significant other/priest/grandmother/boss/parole officer to see. You can add the New York City Police Department to that list. The NYPD has established a new unit to track crimes--both past offenses and upcoming trouble--via social media.
A Japanese company called TechFirm has released a new Twitter client for the iPad with a novel--and useful--application. “Breath Bird” allows handicapped users to Tweet using nothing but their breath, allowing those with minimal use of their hands--or even their voices--to plug characters into their Twitter feeds using the microphone on the iPad.
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.