Stories by Author

Evan Ackerman

administrator, editor, writer

Evan Ackerman is a native Oregonian who now lives, somewhat unwillingly, in San Francisco. He has a background in creative writing and astrogeology, neither of which are necessarily appropriate for someone who is now a full-time blogger. Evan also writes for IEEE Spectrum's robotics blog, and when he's not parked at his computer with his eyes glazed over, you can find him getting injured on a soccer field or playing bagpipes excellently.

Until we figure out how to make a phaser that can be set to stun, we've been stuck with non less-lethal options like tasers (which can kill) and laser dazzlers (which can cause eye damage). StunRay is basically just a big flashlight, except with the ability to disable you by causing "inverse blindness."
This lumpy blob is a gravity map of our planet, showing an exaggerated view of where sea level would be if it weren't for waves, tides, currents, or weather. The European Space Agency's GOCE satellite has created the most detailed planetary gravity map ever, and it could help us understand everything from climate change to earthquakes.
The window of enjoyability for hot beverages is pretty small: you've got about 30 seconds of 'just right' between tongue meltingly hot and disappointingly lukewarm. Giant magic beans with liquid metal inside use the power of physics to simultaneously make hot things cooler and cool things hotter, prolonging that ideal temperature.