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WebAssembly was created to build applications for browsers, but it's increasingly finding a home in cloud computing centers.

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SpaceX will soon launch weather-prediction satellites that track how GPS signals bend as they travel through the atmosphere.

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A pilot project to test the DNA of migrant families raises concerns about the rise of a genetic surveillance state.

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In an Amazon sorting center, a swarm of robots works alongside humans. Here’s what that says about Amazon—and the future of work.

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Lego's newest STEM set uses bright colors, friendly shapes, and a simple coding environment to get 11- to 14-year olds into robotics.

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As we read, our eyes reveal what words go together, and which are the most important. Researchers are applying that data to help neural networks understand language.

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Snap+Share, a new exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, explores the evolution of sharing images, from postcards to Ceiling Cat.

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Climate change is the most horrific threat our species has ever known: No matter how powerful you are or how much money you have, our transforming planet is a reckoning for every one of us. But there are degrees to this misery. If you’re perched in a Manhattan penthouse, the effects might not be immediately apparent (because you don’t care or aren’t paying attention, or both). If you’re a subsistence farmer in Kenya, the situation is already much more dire.
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Conventional wisdom holds that science fiction was written almost exclusively by men until the advent of feminism in the 1960s and ’70s. But when Lisa Yaszek, who teaches science fiction studies at Georgia Tech, went digging through old magazines, she discovered a very different story.
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To help cure the planet’s ailments, Zhen Dai suggests antacid. In powdered form, calcium carbonate—often used to relieve upset stomachs—can reflect light; by peppering the sky with the shiny white particles, the Harvard researcher thinks it might be possible to block just enough sunlight to achieve some temperature control here on Earth. Dai’s work calls for a custom-­designed test balloon that, pending an independent committee’s green light, is set to release up to a kilogram of calcium carbonate 12 miles above the US, in what will be the first solar geoengineering experiment in the lower atmosphere. Small onboard propellers will stir the payload into the air.
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Paul Seibert spent much of 2018 hovering thousands of feet over New York City. He was taking photographs for the social media accounts of the helicopter tour company FlyNYON, and over the course of the year Seibert shot the city from almost every imaginable angle. But even though he shared multiple vantage points, the images that always performed best on social media were those taken from a single spot: high over Harlem, looking south over Central Park, the skyscrapers of Midtown, and Downtown Manhattan, with the East and Hudson Rivers converging at the top of the frame.
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The first meme of 2018 was Mariah Carey publicly complaining that, prior to her New Year’s Eve performance, no one had brought her “hot tea.” It was funny and in keeping with Carey’s legendary diva antics, but it was also a GIF-able summation of the year’s desperate need for soothing. President Trump had closed out a horribly tense first year in the White House; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria left devastation in their wakes; a man opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival, killing dozens; North Korea was testing nuclear weapons; we learned that Hollywood (and especially Harvey Weinstein) was a sexist hotbed of sexual coercion. We all needed that hot tea. The first memes of 2019 (Chrissy Teigen getting poked in the eye with an umbrella notwithstanding) strike a markedly different tone, often displaying a desperate kind of self-actualized intention.
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In Nihonbashi, a business district of Tokyo named for an old, beautiful bridge that has been obscured by an expressway, it is very difficult for a foreigner to get cash. When I was in Tokyo last week to give a talk, the first two ATM machines I tried refused to cooperate with my American debit cards. The third one worked, giving me large, beautifully designed ¥10,000 bills featuring a dot portrait of a somewhat glum Yukichi Fukuzawa, scholar and founder of Keio University.
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The Future Book was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.
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