What Scientists Can Learn From Alien Hunters

Aliens—hypothetical beings from outer space—fall into roughly three categories. They could be far-away microbes or other creatures that don’t use technology humans can detect; they could be far-away creatures that use technology earthlings can identify; or they could be creatures that have used technology to come to Earth.Each of these categories has a different branch…

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What Is the Internet of Things? A WIRED Guide

How many engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?Depends on whether or not that lightbulb is connected to Wi-Fi.Lightbulbs, along with refrigerators, coffee makers, microwave ovens, baby monitors, security cameras, speakers, televisions, and thermostats have, in the past few decades, transformed from ordinary objects into conduits for the future. Embedded with sensors that see,…

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The Secret to Blowing Massive Soap Bubbles

Everybody loves bubbles, regardless of age—the bigger the better. But to blow really big, world-record-scale bubbles requires a very precise bubble mixture. Physicists have determined that a key ingredient is mixing in polymers of varying strand lengths, according to a new paper in Physical Review Fluids. That produces a soap film able to stretch sufficiently…

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The Universal Law of Turbulence Isn’t So Unruly After All

Picture a calm river. Now picture a torrent of white water. What is the difference between the two? To mathematicians and physicists it’s this: The smooth river flows in one direction, while the torrent flows in many different directions at once.Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons…

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