Tagged With excerpts


War, as structured state-sponsored fighting and dying, has given rise to venerated professions to manage its risks and bound its ethical dilemmas. The nature of those professions, and the meaning of their experiences, changes when the human body is no longer present in the fight, fuelling a public debate.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


At the height of the Cold War, if you wanted a peek behind the Iron Curtain, it had to be a birds's eye view from 63,000 feet -- above the reach of Soviet SAM batteries. And to fly that high, America's elite SR-71 pilots had to wear the most advanced flight suits this side of the Apollo program.


In 1994, Damien Echols and two of his friends, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, were wrongfully convicted in what prosecutors called a satanic ritual murder of three 8-year-old boys. Echols, the leader of the group, was sentenced to death; Baldwin and Misskelley received life sentences. The trio became known as the West Memphis Three, and their cause was taken up by the likes of Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder. In August 2011, they were released under a legally awkward plea deal. Echols wrote a book about his experience, Life After Death, which is available on Amazon and which we've excerpted here.


When I was in high school in the late 1970s, we had workshop class as part of the "Industrial Arts" curriculum. It wasn't quite clear why this was a required credit -- we lived in suburb of WashingtonDC and there were no factories around and most of my friends' parents were lawyers. But learning how to use workshop tools -- band saws, table saws, drill presses and the like -- was just part of a mid 20th century education.


Knot theory hasn't been the only unexpected maths to pop up during DNA research. Scientists have used Venn diagrams to study DNA, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The architecture of DNA shows traces of the "golden ratio" of length to width found in classical edifices like the Parthenon.


Do I believe in UFOs or extraterrestrial visitors? Where shall I begin? There's a fascinating frailty of the human mind that psychologists know all about, called "argument from ignorance". This is how it goes. Remember what the "U" stands for in "UFO"? You see lights flashing in the sky. You've never seen anything like this before and don't understand what it is. You say, "It's a UFO!" The "U" stands for "unidentified."