republished

How NASA Deals With Odour Inside The International Space Station

Space may be a vacuum, but at least aboard the International Space Station, smells still have plenty of room to waft. And considering the ISS has 6 living, breathing, excreting human beings living in such close proximity, some of those smells could get to be a major problem. Fortunately, NASA has accounted for that.


What Would Happen If The 20 Biggest US Cities Were Wiped Out With Nukes

Wiping out an American city, much less the largest ones, requires either blast yields well beyond the capability of any terrorist organisation, or numbers of nuclear weapons that would make the terrorist organisation one of the largest nuclear powers on the planet. This is particularly true of major cities such as Atlanta, Houston and LA, which are defined by their suburban sprawl.


How Computer Chips Work

A modern microprocessor is a tremendously complicated entity, and it has taken decades of work by thousands of people to get it where it is today. It’s nearly impossible to cover all the bases, but I’m going to try anyway. And get a bucket of popcorn ready — because this is going to be long.


Why We Still Use QWERTY Keyboards

How intuitive are modern keyboards? It can take a beginner ages to really get up to speed with a QWERTY keyboard, and without some form of formal training, most people wind up becoming one-finger typists.


Is The Domino's Pizza Tracker Telling The Truth?

The tracker is legit — but only as legit as the people in the store let it be. The fact is there are a lot of factors that happen in a store that the tracker can’t always account for, and so your mileage may vary with the online tracker for those reasons.


How Cramped Is It Inside A Space Shuttle?

Here’s a simple visual exercise you can do to get a better feel for the approximate living area inside one of our amazingly complex and now-retired space shuttles.


A Beginner's Guide To Cyberwarfare

Simply put, cyberwarfare is the use of hacking to conduct attacks on a target’s strategic or tactical resources for the purposes of espionage or sabotage.


Mining Bitcoin With Pencil And Paper

I decided to see how practical it would be to mine Bitcoin with pencil and paper. It turns out that the SHA-256 algorithm used for mining is pretty simple and can in fact be done by hand. Not surprisingly, the process is extremely slow compared to hardware mining and is entirely impractical. But performing the algorithm manually is a good way to understand exactly how it works.


Why Screws Tighten Clockwise

One of the six simple machines, a screw is nothing more than an inclined plane wrapped around a center pole. While today screws come in standard sizes, and typically are tightened by turning clockwise (and loosened by turning counterclockwise), this is a recent invention. A great example of how things that seem simple can be really hard to do right, the development of the predicable system we enjoy today took 2000 years to invent.


What It Was Like To Be Online During The '80s

Before Google Fiber, before broadband, before you got bombarded with enough AOL free trial CDs to build your family a (very pointy and ineffective) home, the internet was a vastly simpler thing. Here are two first-hand accounts of internet life in the ’80s, when porn was restricted to asterisks and dashes and the screeching sound of dial-up was music to young computer geeks’ ears.


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