How Automakers Use a WWI-Era Camo Technique to Disguise Prototype Cars

In the early days of modern warfare, ships protected themselves from German U-boats with wild, eye-catching painted patterns called dazzle. The military moved on to new forms of camo decades ago, but for carmakers, dazzle is still the best way to protect prototype cars from being photographed. » 10/17/14 11:45am Friday 11:45am

Saving This Sinking City Will Cost $40 Billion

Venice? Sure, it's sinking. So is Mexico City, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City. But none of them are being submerged as fast as Jakarta, which is sinking as much as a few inches a year—for comparison's sake, Venice is sinking by .08 inches every year. Now, Jakarta is undertaking a three-decade-long plan to save its… » 10/15/14 3:36pm 10/15/14 3:36pm

The 1,300-Person Quest To Build the Perfect Mechanical Keyboard

The keyboard is functionally invisible. It's the single piece of hardware you touch the most. But despite being your primary interface with the digital world, it's remained almost unchanged for decades, ignored, except for the small community of enthusiasts who design, program, and build their own—like the Infinity… » 10/15/14 11:00am 10/15/14 11:00am

This Inductive Charger Makes Powering Up Your iPhone Beautiful

There are plenty of ways to do the two things that Spira does: Charge your phone and tell you the time. But there's nothing quite like the device that interaction design student Alice Robbiani has built to combine them—her inductive charger turns your iPhone into an interactive wall clock while it charges. » 10/14/14 5:30pm 10/14/14 5:30pm

Your Phone Could Become Part of the World's Largest Telescope

If you could enlist your smartphone to become part of an earth-sized telescope searching for the source of cosmic rays, would you? Researchers at University of California are hoping you'd say yes—they've developed an app that will leverage the power of one million smartphone cameras to answer one of the great… » 10/14/14 11:52am 10/14/14 11:52am

Waltz With Bashir: An Animated Documentary About War and Memory

Why would a veteran and filmmaker, attempting to piece together his lost memories of a brutal war, turn to animation to tell his story? For many, animation is still cloaked in the cultural stigma of cartoons—of inconsequential entertainment. So the decision to render a film about war and psychology in animated form is… » 10/13/14 8:00pm 10/13/14 8:00pm

Finally, a Lithium Battery That Warns You Before It Bursts Into Flames

Lithium ion batteries are wonderful things, but they're unfortunately given to short circuiting and bursting into flames every now and then. It's extraordinarily rare, but it happens. A Stanford research team thinks they've solved this little big problem by building an early warning system into an existing battery.… » 10/13/14 11:46am 10/13/14 11:46am

The US Doesn't Have Enough Railroads to Keep Up With the Oil Boom

Passenger rail has never been known for punctuality (at least in this century), but over the past year, Amtrak's long distance passenger trains have reportedly gone from being late 35 percent of the time to being late 60 percent of the time. But don't blame Amtrak—it's being forced to make way for the thousands of… » 10/09/14 3:18pm 10/09/14 3:18pm

Inside the Workshop of a Master Neon Signmaker

Neon is an essentially modern phenomenon—it was discovered in 1898, at the cusp of the modern age. But paradoxically, working with neon still requires an extraordinary handicraft. A new video shows us the process of blowing and molding a (badass) neon sign courtesy of Mike Heist, a Neon artist based in Portland. » 10/09/14 11:20am 10/09/14 11:20am

The Designs Norway Rejected For Its New Banknotes Are Amazing

Yesterday we learned that Norway had chosen a new design for its banknotes—a pixelated little number by the architects at Snøhetta. While their design is tasteful and restrained, it can't possibly live up to the charm of sea life drawn by kids. Which was exactly what one designer proposed. » 10/09/14 10:27am 10/09/14 10:27am

There Are Really Just Four Kinds of Cities In the World

Most of us want to believe that our cities are unique, special snowflakes, unlike anywhere else in the world. But a new study analyzing 131 different city grids has found that every city falls into one of four categories. Staten Island, for example, has a lot in common with the Syrian city of As-Suwayda. » 10/08/14 4:00pm 10/08/14 4:00pm