2. This new virtual assistant wants to be the Siri of your dreams

    Meet Viv, the latest from the creators that brought you Siri


  3. The strangest inventions ever patented

    From an accidental masturbation preventer to a faceplant facilitation device…


  4. The firsts of the First World War: A visual history

    World War I was one of the deadliest wars in history. But it also produced a plethora of innovations in science and society.


  5. South Korea has robots to cheer at its baseball games

    Fans can send proxies to the stadium to cheer, chant, and even do the wave


  6. Man builds “biggest fart machine ever,” plans to aim it at France

    It apparently sounds like “a furious fart from hell”


  7. Megan McArdle has been pushing the importance of failure, and bemoaning cultural shifts away from taking failure-prone risks. In her estimation, children are being drilled into total conformity from a young age, steered by overly concerned parents toward high-success paths that leave little room for creative deviations from the norm. In the long run, McArdle suggests, this is bad for society because it will reduce innovation and the social benefits that flow from it.

    But while McCardle somewhat glibly celebrates failure, the reality of deep failure in America is stark. Unlike elsewhere in the developed world, being at or near the bottom of American society entails extraordinary misery. Poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, instability, and a general lack of a livable social floor means that the consequences of truly failing in the U.S. are rather horrific.

    — Matt Bruenig, in If you want kids to fail, stop making failure so horrible


  8. Bristle me this:

    Blizzident's 3-D printed toothbrush may look like a mold of Venom's mouth, but the creators guarantee that it can brush a person’s teeth in just six seconds. Users simply have to grind down on the device 10 to 15 times, and voila, your teeth are pearly white. The copious amounts of bristles clean the teeth in an up, down, left, right, forward and backward motion all at the same time, shaving minutes from your day. That is, if you’re willing to spend $299 for the product, which is molded specifically for your mouth — and then $89 per additional toothbrush.

    Open wide for the toothbrushes of the future


  9. Astronauts, marathoners, and smartphone users (read: everyone) say “Thanks, technology!”

    Listen to all of The Week’s mini-podcasts here.


  10. A piglet known as Chris P. Bacon examines his new wheelchair on the office floor of veterinarian and owner Len Lucero in Clermont, Fla. The little animal’s hind legs are deformed and Lucero had fashioned a wheelchair out of K’nex toys to help it walk. Chris outgrew the wheelchair, and will soon grow into his new, sturdier model. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Scott Audette)

    12 of this week’s best photos


  11. New laundry detergent makes your clothes remove pollution from the air

    In an unusual collaboration of form and function, scientists from the University of Sheffield and designers from the London College of Fashion have teamed up to create a liquid laundry additive, CatClo (Catalytic Clothing), that turns your clothes into pollution magnets using the magic of nanotechnology. 

    The laundry additive coats your clothes with minuscule particles of titanium dioxide, which, when exposed to daylight, attract nitrogen oxides — a major source of pollution — from the air. You only have to use CatClo once per clothing item, the developers say, as “nanoparticles of titanium dioxide grip onto fabrics very tightly.” The additive can remove 5 grams of nitrogen dioxide a day — the same amount as emitted daily by an average family car, says the University of Sheffield’s Tony Ryan — and the pollutants wash off your clothes the next time you do the laundry. “Not a bad haul for simply getting dressed in the morning,” says Clay Dillow at PopSci.

    Keep reading…


  12. Matthew Inman, proprietor of web comic The Oatmeal, is on a mission to build a crowd-funded museum dedicated to inventor Nikola Tesla, who Inman refers to as “the greatest geek who ever lived.” Inman’s goal was to raise $850,000 (which would be matched dollar-for-dollar by a New York State grant) in 45 days. But surprisingly, a little more than a week into it, the online campaign has gathered more than $1.1 million in donations. Many of the inventor’s fans think Tesla was more brilliant than his more famous contemporaries, including Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. Even though Tesla isn’t exactly a household name, his unsung accomplishments and wild imagination has turned him into something of a folk hero. Here, a rundown of five of Tesla’s craziest inventions:

    1. Wireless energy transfer
    About 120 years ago at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, Tesla demonstrated that you could wirelessly transmit electricity by firing up a series of phosphorous light bulbs in a process he called electrodynamics induction. He dreamed that such technology would allow us to one day shoot power over long distances in the atmosphere, supplying distant destinations with the energy needed to live comfortably. Now over a century later, companies such as Intel and Sony are interested in applying the non-radiative energy transfer to things such as cell phones to allow you to charge your battery without messy power cables.

    2. Earthquake machine
    "In 1898, Tesla claimed he had built and deployed a small oscillating device that, when attached to his office and operating, nearly shook down the building and everything around it," says Shea Gunther at Revmodo. The device weighed just a few pounds, but Tesla was able to tune the timing of the oscillator at such a frequency that each little vibration added just a little more energy to the wave of flex in the building. “Given enough little pushes, even the largest structure could be shaken apart.” Realizing the potential terrors such a device could create, “Tesla said he took a hammer to the oscillator to disable it, instructing his employees to claim ignorance to the cause of the tremors if asked.”

    3. Death ray
    In the 1930s Tesla reportedly invented a particle beam weapon that some, ironically, called a “peace ray,” says Lauren Davis at io9. “The device was, in theory, capable of generating an intense targeted beam of energy” that could be used to depose of enemy warplanes, foreign armies, “or anything else you’d rather didn’t exist.” The so-called “death ray” was never constructed, however, even though Tesla shopped the device around to various military divisions. The plans for the laser were never found after Tesla’s death.

    Keep reading…


  13. quartz:

    Here at Quartz, our newsroom will be driven by a set of core obsessions. (Kevin talked about this strategy in a recent interview, and we’ll have plenty more to say about it as we approach our launch.) One of my obsessions is the Internet of Things, which refers to physical objects that…

    This is really cool!

    (Source: quartz)