republished

Your Baby's Klout Score Is In The 25th Percentile

As you know, we took a lot of measurements this morning — height, weight, head circumference — and your baby is doing great. There’s just one thing, and it’s not necessarily something to be concerned about, but we do need to talk about it: Your baby’s Klout score is in the 25th percentile.


The Untold History Of Where Barcodes Come From

When George Laurer goes to the grocery store, he doesn’t tell the check-out people that he invented the barcode, but his wife used to point it out. “My husband here’s the one who invented that barcode,” she’d occasionally say. And the checkout people would look at him like, “You mean there was a time when we didn’t have barcodes?”


Why Is My Laptop On?

Why is my laptop on? To answer this question sufficiently, I found a four-year-old boy, and now every time I think I have the answer to the question, he’ll ask “Why?” — because that’s what four-year-olds do — and that will force us to get to the real answer. We’ll call him George. Everyone say hi.


That Time The Whac-A-Mole Inventor Accidentally Blew Up His Warehouse

It was lunch time on a muggy late September day in 2013 when an explosion shook downtown Orlando, Florida. A warehouse on west Jefferson street was the casualty. Police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks were already on their way by the time Tim Roth, a good Samaritan, was on the scene. As he searched through the rubble and debris for injured humans, what he found was something else entirely.


Why Roller Coaster Loops Are Never Circular

Many extreme roller coaster these days have vertical loops. Have you noticed that these loops are never circular? Why is this?


The Untold History Of Ugliness

We’ve all had that moment while perusing a flea market or junk store when you stumble across an item and have to yelp, “Good lord, that is ugly!” So ugly, in fact, you have to marvel that it even got made in the first place.


The College Kid Who Built A Secret Tunnel Underneath The Berlin Wall

At its peak, the Berlin Wall was 100 miles long. Today only about a mile is left standing. Compared with other famous walls in history, this wall had a pretty short life span.


How Biotech Could Make Life In Prison A Living Hell

At the University of Oxford, a team of scholars led by the philosopher Rebecca Roache has begun thinking about the ways futuristic technologies might transform punishment. In January, I spoke with Roache and her colleagues Anders Sandberg and Hannah Maslen about emotional enhancement, ‘supercrimes’ and the ethics of eternal damnation. What follows is a condensed and edited transcript of our conversation.


This WhatsApp Redesign Would Make Facebook's $16 Billion Buy Worth It

Whatsapp has been one of the most talked about startup giants in recent memory. Building upon the most basic of mobile services, messaging WhatsApp has managed to monetise and evolve the service through cross platform integration and making it free (among many other things). Following the $US16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook I thought that this is a good as time as any to look at what this means for WhatsApp and what changes both aesthetic and functional might be implemented by it.


The Six Types Of Apple Store Genius

This isn’t brick and mortar, it’s glass and steel. Pseudonymous Apple Store employee J. K. Appleseed walks you through a choose-your-own-adventure story with a twist. Yep, we’re going backstage at Apple Retail, the supercollider of human expectations and consumer technology.