It’s perhaps no surprise that we’re designing robots that look human. In fact, humans tend to have a preference for toys, gadgets, and machines that are either “cute” or human-like. But what happens if we get a closer look and discover that the "replicant" is just a simulation? Researchers have discovered that the quick moment of realization results in a spike of revulsion. A sharp negative dip in emotion is created when we discover we’ve been duped. When represented on a diagram, it creates a curious gap dubbed “the uncanny valley.” Why have humans developed this instinctive aversion? It could be an evolutionary trait that helps us easier identify other humans and avoid predators: a natural “identify friend/foe” system. Can humans ever learn to love and accept machines as part of our world? Perhaps as long as they look good and never take off their masks…
Venus has been very good to us. The European unmanned mission orbiting it since 2006 has brought scientists a treasure trove of data. So now, right before its final (suicidal) mission, which sends it diving deeper into the atmosphere than it's ever gone before, we bring this data to you. Here is not just a single speculative fact, but a bouquet. There are details here on the complex maneuver of remote air-breaking, polar vortexes, and the phenomena of super rotation just to name more than a few. Use this article and the ones liked to it to make your story that much more believable.
Much like bats and dolphins (and the Marvel Comics character Daredevil), there are certain blind individuals who have learned to use sound and echolocation as a means of navigating their environment. People who possess the ability can not only determine how far away something is but even the composition of the reflecting materials (i.e. wood versus metal). What other conditions can humans adapt to, what other feats of detection can we learn? What if some people learn to feel body heat, pick up smells like a bloodhound, or even detect weak magnetic fields?
Are you trying to envision a futuristic computer? Or need inspiration for a unique take on AI? As computers continue to evolve some have envisioned gel being used as a medium for processors and memory. Gels allow for dynamic interfacing in three dimensions and could also lead to reduced heat. While still theoretical, recent advances make them more feasible in the future. Will your next desktop look like a vat of jelly?
None would deny the special bond humans share with dolphins. They have fascinated us, been worshiped by us, and fill a special place in our hearts that longs for a connection beyond our species. And they will save your life. Read competitive swimmer Adam Walker's recounting of dolphins protecting him from a seven foot shark. His story will give you hope and every story needs just a little bit of that.
Along with this story, we've added a link to The Pod, a website of dolphin mythology. Use it to research your own dolphin tail and make it all the more real.
Found near a village in Iraq, a series of ancient artifacts later dubbed “Bagdad batteries” were unearthed by explorers in 1936. Their name came from the hypothesis of archaeologist Wilhelm König that they could have been used as galvanic cells. While the scientific and skeptic community dismiss that they were ever batteries the UFO and alien conspiracy theory community use the “batteries” as evidence of alien visitation in our past. What if galvanizing technology was utilized in ancient Arabia and Persia centuries before the Europeans? Could Asians have colonized Europe using advanced electrically based technology? Galvanizing.
Ever since his terrible accident, Jason Padgett, a furniture sales man, literally sees fractals. His brain injury "unlocked" a hidden skill set to visually perceive advanced mathematical and physical concepts. This has happened before, and the research on other survivors of trauma that came away with an astounding savant like intelligence is very much worth the read and deserving of a story.
Translated as “unicorn” in the King James Bible, the Aurox bull has been depicted by artists as early as the Neolithic era and eventually hunted to extinction by the middle ages. What other kinds of beasts could have inspired myth and legend? Could a mistranslation be the origin of your monster? Peruse the annals of prehistory for your own abundant and fantastical bestiary!
Designed by Franklin Chang Diaz, a former NASA astronaut, the experimental VASIMIR drive may send future space explorers to planets like Mars. Using magnetically accelerated plasma, the drive can be throttled for high or low speeds and performance. Such a drive might become common among all future spacecraft designs. Ready to sign up for a maiden voyage?
Long before zombies appeared in modern entertainment they were a part of Haiti’s darker spiritual practices. Labelled as a "culture-bound syndrome" by anthropologists, the process of zombification is performed by a bokor, or sorcerer priest. Pharmacologically, the puffer fish toxin tetrodotoxin and the hallucinogenic planet datura have both been named as agents contributing to deathlike paralysis and mindless stupor. Voodoo adherants believe a zombie’s spirit has been separated from their body, leaving behind an empty shell.
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