PopSci is pleased to present videos created by Motherboard, Vice Media's guide to future culture. Motherboard's original videos run the gamut from in-depth, investigative reports to profiles of the offbeat forward-thinking characters who are sculpting our bizarre present.
We all know that as technology empowers us to do more, it carries with it all manner of problems. But one of our biggest pickles tends to slip right by us: We're not free.
We've covered some pretty amazing coronal mass ejections (CMEs) here on PopSci, but we might have to crown this one the best yet. Blasting forth from the solar surface at 900 miles per second on August 31, it was captured in all of its tendril-esque glory by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
If the image doesn't look real, rest assured that it is. But the SDO clearly doesn't capture imagery of the sun in the same way the human eye does.
We've seen hydrogels--the squishy material of the future--do some neat tricks before. Researchers, for example, have already tried to make them autonomous self-healers, ready to repair themselves when they break. But what if they just didn't break at all under strain? Then you'd get something like this video, which shows a new, super-strong hydrogel shrugging off a ball of metal.
Last we heard from Boston Dynamics' Cheetah, it was coursing along at 18 miles per hour, the fastest a robot had ever run. Now, inspired perhaps by Olympic sprinters, it's cranked that up to a frightening 28.3 MPH.
We've covered the technology aspects of the ongoing drone wars thoroughly here at PopSci. The geopolitical and legal ramifications have been fodder for an endlessly cycling debate in the blogosphere. Esquire's Tom Junod recently termed it the "Lethal Presidency" while examining the moral ramifications. The bottom line is, the U.S.
We recently gave the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 a pretty solid review here on PopSci for improvements made to the recreational quadcopter's smartphone- or tablet-based control interface, which we found to be very intuitive. But a team of researchers at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, has gone a long step further.
Hurricane Isaac has now made two landfalls in southern Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast region is no doubt in for a long Wednesday. The slow-moving storm carries an increased risk for flooding in the affected regions, as rainfall totals will be higher. And then there's that storm surge, and those Category One, 80 mile-per-hour winds. Kind of makes you wonder how something so violent and destructive on the underside can look so tranquil from above. This is a major test of the world's largest water pump system, which was installed in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.
How do you learn to cook a steak? Some people might say "attempt to cook a steak." Those people are living in the past! What you should do is rig a system of wires and pulleys and augmented reality cameras and projectors so you can toss and turn a digital projection of a steak and onions with a digital projection of a spatula while feeling simulated resistance that mimics the weight of a steak. Duh. Video after the jump.
Animals use electricity to move, and so electricity can be used to make them move, as the scientists at Backyard Brains show in a neat DIY experiment that can be done with a cockroach's leg. For a larger scale version, they connected the device to a squid, which produce pigmented cells called chromatophores to reflect light. By using an iPod blasting Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane" as the stimulant, they discovered a lovely, abstract look at the process.
As promised, NASA has stitched together high-resolution imagery of the descent and landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, captured from the rover's own bellycam. The full-color four-frame-per-second video is below, with synchronized narration from Allen Chen and the other scientists in the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.