The Week: Most Recent unknown Posts recent posts.en-usSat, 20 Dec 2014 14:00:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent unknown Posts from THE WEEKSat, 20 Dec 2014 14:00:00 -0500Innovation of the week: A smartphone driver's license<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Iowa is developing the country's first smartphone driver's license, said Jeff Elder at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. It will co-exist with the traditional plastic cards. It could theoretically be used if you are stopped by police or at airports in the state if you lose your traditional license or leave it at home. There are some privacy concerns; it's not clear what would happen, for instance, "if someone who was pulled over received an incriminating text while the officer was checking the license."</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 20 Dec 2014 14:00:00 -0500A brief history of the Zamboni<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The technical name for the funny-looking machine that refurbishes the ice at hockey and figure skating rinks is an ice resurfacer, but you probably know it better as a Zamboni. Here are a few points you may not have known about the leading brand in the industry for more than 60 years.</p><p><strong>Who invented the Zamboni?<br /></strong>Frank Zamboni, the son of Italian immigrants, invented the first ice-resurfacing machine in Paramount, California, in 1949. Zamboni initially wanted to name his company the Paramount Engineering Company, but the name was taken, so he used his family name instead.</p><p>To fully appreciate Zamboni...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Scott AllenThu, 18 Dec 2014 14:44:00 -0500Curiosity catches a whiff of methane on Mars -- and a possibility of past life<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>NASA has revealed that a whiff of methane has been detected twice in the last couple of years at the Martian surface by the Curiosity Rover.</p><p>The source of the methane is uncertain. It is not even clear if the methane originated on Mars or arrived there by way of a meteorite that landed on the surface of the red planet, but this is the strongest evidence yet of possible life in its ancient past.</p><p>"We have full confidence that there is methane in the atmosphere of Mars," announced John Grotzinger of CalTech, a Curiosity project scientist, on December 16. "Life is one of the few hypotheses for...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Simon RedfernWed, 17 Dec 2014 08:58:00 -0500How computers will replace your doctor<img src="" /></P><p>You've probably read some widespread sillinesses about how technology is moving us toward a world split between "high-skill" and "low-skill" jobs. Worriers claim that people with high-skill jobs will gobble up all of the economic pie, and those with low-skill jobs will be left with mere crumbs. This notion was perhaps best exemplified by economist Tyler Cowen's book <em>Average is Over.</em></p><p>This is nonsense. Because high-skill jobs are in peril, too. And sometimes, their death will make way for a raft of new "low-skill" jobs.</p><p>For example, look at the future of the general practitioner of medicine. This...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:00:00 -0500How science can improve interrogation<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program documents the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) against terrorism suspects detained by the agency.</p><p>The report concludes that the CIA program was more widespread and egregious than the American public &mdash; and Congressional oversight committees &mdash; had been led to believe. Not surprisingly, key findings in the report also call into question the claimed efficacy of EITs in eliciting reliable intelligence information.</p><p>As a research psychologist...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Christian MeissnerSat, 13 Dec 2014 09:00:00 -0500The mechanized future of warfare<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> How advanced are today's weapons?</strong><br /> Modern soldiers are equipped with a wide array of highly sophisticated, computer-enhanced weapons systems that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago. About 40 percent of the U.S. aerial fleet consists of unmanned combat drones, and the Air Force now trains more drone operators than bomber or fighter pilots. Robotic ground vehicles have also flooded the battlefield, with more than 6,000 deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to haul gear, climb over obstacles, and provide advanced reconnaissance. The military is now testing a more advanced version called...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 13 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0500Innovation of the week: The counterfeit catcher<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Never be fooled by a fake again, said Takashi Mochizuki at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. Japan's NEC has developed software that lets users spot counterfeit products "with the discreet click of a smartphone camera button." The system uses a pattern recognition system to scan and analyze the tiniest of details in the products' surface patterns and compare them with an online database of luxury goods &mdash; just like a fingerprint. NEC hopes retailers will use the system to discern knockoffs more quickly and cheaply.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 12 Dec 2014 12:28:00 -0500There will never be another space race<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p class="normal">Ellen Stofan, NASA's chief scientist, saw her first rocket launch at age 4. Her father worked at NASA as an engineer, and the thrill of space exploration captured her imagination from an early age. But at a Future Tense film screening of <em>The Dish</em> in Washington D.C. last week, Stofan acknowledged that for many people she meets, what first sparked a space obsession was the Apollo program &mdash; President John F. Kennedy's audacious commitment in 1961 to putting Americans on the moon before the end of the decade.</p><p class="normal">Today, NASA's goal to put astronauts on Mars by the 2030s could be a similarly unifying...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Ariel BogleFri, 12 Dec 2014 08:52:00 -0500The next mass extinction is coming. Can zoos save the world?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Today, many zoos promote the protection of biodiversity as a significant part of their mission. As conservation "arks" for endangered species and, increasingly, as leaders in field conservation projects such as the reintroduction of captive-born animals to the wild, zoos are preparing to play an even more significant role in the effort to save species in this century.</p><p>It's a task that's never been more urgent. The recent Living Planet Index report authored by the World Wildlife Fund and the London Zoological Society paints a disturbing picture: Globally, on average, vertebrate species populations...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Ben A. MinteerThu, 11 Dec 2014 16:14:00 -05008 animal plagues wreaking havoc right now<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>When we talk about studying, controlling, or just plain worrying about pandemics, we usually think of our own, human diseases. But many other species face existential threats as well. In the wild and on the farm, through climate change, human agency, and other causes, deadly diseases and conditions are ravaging specific animal communities. Here are eight of the scariest diseases plaguing the animal kingdom today.</p><p><strong>Plague: White-nose syndrome</strong><br /><strong>Target: Bats</strong></p><p>This disease is named for the characteristic fuzzy white bloom found on the muzzles (as well as the wings and ears) of hibernating bats infected...</p> <a href="">More</a>By World Science Festival StaffWed, 10 Dec 2014 08:32:00 -0500