excerpts

The Inside Story Of How Stuxnet Was Discovered

Countdown to Zero Day, a new book by Wired journalist Kim Zetter, is a whodunnit for the internet age. It tells the true tale of how a complicated virus, which later came to be known as Stuxnet, made its way into the world.


An Early Look At XKCD's Upcoming What If? Book

XKCD’s What If — that extra-special corner of the internet that answers all of our nerdiest, most absurd questions in delightfully extensive detail — is finally being made into a book. And fortunately for all those who just can’t wait, Nerdist has the very first look inside.


How Doctors Simulate Death To Help Bring You Back To Life

Mark is lying on the operating table right in front of me, and it is obvious that his day has taken a turn for the worse. Which is too bad, because his day started out quite well.


How Turbulence Happens, And Why It's Not So Scary After All

Turbulence: spiller of coffee, jostler of luggage, filler of barf bags, rattler of nerves. But is it a crasher of planes? Judging by the reactions of many airline passengers, one would assume so; turbulence is far and away the number one concern of anxious passengers.


Monster Machines: Boeing's Bird Of Prey

From the U-2 Dragon Lady and A-12 Oxcart, to the SR-71 Blackbird and D-12 Ramjet Drone, there’s been no shortage of exotic aircraft (and UFO sightings) in the skies over Nevada’s Area 51. But among the most extreme examples of bleeding-edge avionic design tested was the otherworldly Boeing Bird of Prey.


Valentina Grizodubova: The Soviet Amelia Earhart

While American women were restricted to administrative flying missions during wartime, more than a thousand Russian women flew combat missions. Valentina Grizodubova was one of them.


Monster Machines: This Gorgeous Warbird Is More Phoenix Than Mustang

The P-51 Mustang is one of the most iconic aircraft in aviation history. These long-range, single-seater fighter-bombers served throughout the Seconds World War as well as during in Korea before being relegated to scrap yards. But many have survived, some in the most unlikely of places. You’ll never guess what quiet suburb the Lil’ Margaret was found in.


Apple Juice: How To Charge Your Phone With Pocket Change And Fruit

Arthur C. Clarke wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, but he was wrong. It’s easy to tell the difference — technology works. For example, “remote-viewing” mentalists claim they can see events far away, yet they fail every test. In fact, remote viewing is simple: It’s called TV.


How To Turn Burning Gas Into A Lamp Without Blowing Yourself Up

If you were a coal miner in the early 1800s, the light you used was an openflame oil lamp — even though mines were sometimes filled with “fire-damp”, a volatile mixiture of air and methane gas. Explosions were inevitable and threw bodies from mine shafts like grapeshot from a cannon. Humphry Davy became a national hero when he found a remedy in 1815: surround the lamp flame with mosquito screen.


The 10 Most Useful LEGO Bricks

These are the exciting bricks that open up whole new possibilities in LEGO building. In my experience, the most useful bricks are those that change the direction of the studs or give fine detailing to models. It seems like no matter how many of these bricks I have, they’re never enough.