Our Best Explainers Of 2014

Our Best Explainers Of 2014

The speed at which our technologies progress is both a blessing and curse of the 21st century. We’re closer than any people before us to actually travelling into the stars, understanding the basic laws of our universe, or actually banging a robot. It’s a wonderful time to be alive, albeit a confusing one.

What happens to the human body during the rigors of a spacecraft’s liftoff? What’s this genetically modified corn going to do to my DNA? Whaddya mean I can’t have sex with this here toaster? These are questions that we’ve all likely (hopefully) asked ourselves over the past year, so here are eight explanations that might help.

Why Is OLED Different and What Makes It So Great?

I have seen the future of high definition displays and lo, it is glorious. Not to mention rollable, foldable, and clearly superior to LCD/LED — really every other panel technology available today.

Why the Human Body Can’t Handle Heavy Acceleration

Our bodies are surprisingly resilient in many situations, but rapid acceleration is not one of them. While the human body can withstand any constant speed — be it 20 miles per hour or 20 billion miles per hour — we can only change that rate of travel relatively slowly. Speed up or slow down too quickly and it’s lights out for you, permanently.

Why E-Cigarettes Might Not Be as Safe as You Think

It’s little wonder why e-cigarettes’ popularity has exploded into a $US2 billion industry over the last few years; the promise of safe, harmless nicotine delivery without all the carcinogenic byproducts of looseleaf combustion is a hard offer to pass up. But are these devices and the nicotinated fluids they atomize really that safe? Stephen Dorf says so. Science, on the other hand, says it’s complicated.

How Dolby Vision Works, and How It Could Revolutionise TVs Forever

There are three ways that television displays can be improved, two of which you’re probably already familiar with: you can up the density of the pixels, or increase the refresh rate. But Dolby has taken to improving the third factor: They’re building a better and brighter pixel.

The FCC Thinks We’re All Idiots

Just a few days ago, the FCC voted in favour of a pretty uniformly terrible proposal to allow internet fast lanes. And throughout the 99-page proposition, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler makes one thing painfully apparent: The FCC thinks we’re all a bunch of goddamn idiots.

What Your Poop Is Trying to Tell You

What the hell is that? Seriously, did that just come out of you or did it crawl up the pipe? If you’ve just exorcised a poo that looks nothing like what you’ve eaten recently, it could be a sign of a serious illness. It could also just be that curry from last Wednesday, so it’s good to know what to look for.

Why Daylight Saving Time Is Pointless

Ugh. You’re up an hour early, your body hates you for it, and even a gallon of coffee can’t get your day on track. Daylight saving sucks. But you know the worst part? It doesn’t have to be like this.

What Are GMO Foods, And Are They OK To Eat?

The advent of genetically modified crops has promised heartier food and higher yields that could potentially reduce poverty and malnutrition rates the world over. Two decades later, they’re also broadly maligned and mistrusted. But is it finally time to put down the pitchforks?

Illustration by Tara Jacoby.