Have you watched the news lately? It's all war, calamity, and recession out there. Yes, things are rather bleak at this particular point in history. If only there was some way we could travel back to the past so as to avoid all these messes — or failing that, just cut our losses and jump forward to a future time when our descendents will have fixed everything with all their space ray guns and future doohickey whatnots. If only. Well, as it turns out, lots of people are actively working towards the dream of expanding the one-way street of time into a multi-lane superhighway! Of course, many of these time pioneers are completely whackadoodle. But within the temporal engineering profession, you can also find accomplished researchers pursuing serious, science-based approaches to time travel. Yesterday, we looked at various time travel theories inspired by science fiction. Here, we highlight three of these proposed methods of temporal manipulation that aren't only attracting serious consideration, but might be available sooner than you think.
Modern engineering techniques have given architects the freedom to go absolutely nuts as they run around cities and towns experimenting with all manner of crazy new structures. Like any artists given access to a wholly new set of artistic tools, the line between aesthetic choice and horrible mishap can prove somewhat fuzzy at first glance. Here we present some truly amazing buildings from around the world that — at first impression — appear to have either 1) suffered a big "uh-oh don't tell the foreman" moment in the construction process, or 2) come into contact with a devastating natural calamity. These are the amazing architectural mistakes that weren't. (Note: while there's a whole world of crazy buildings for the public attraction industry — we're specifically looking at architectural techniques used in everyday buildings that may/will slowly find their way into everyday use.)
We wish we had better news to report, but the official timetable for that next "small step for Man" isn't all that timely. Our species has fallen depressingly short of the star-hopping future we were promised in the post-Apollo orgy of interplanetary sci-fi — and that was all before the global economic train wreck. Still, the next few decades aren't entirely without promise. Two trends are in our favor: 1) space exploration is becoming an increasingly international sport — more competition will breed more results — and 2) the advent of a commercial space industry will shepherd a nimbler, more efficient approach to exploration. To that end, we present some of the projects that hold the most promise for Humanity's Big Move into the final frontier. While plenty of cool scientific toys will be flung out into the cosmos in the coming years, for this piece we're concentrating on the missions and projects that will directly lead to getting our species' collective butt back into the cosmos. Earth is so yesterday.
Country living can be a pain. And we're not talking about the hardships of life in a rural community, we're talking about the difficulties of living in a country. For all the services and security the social compact buys us, we are forced to pay a price in compromises — something made all the more poignant by what's going on in the White House right now. But unless you want to drop out of the modern, law-abiding world altogether, this is the deal we're stuck with. So, suck it up, Mr. Complainy Face. Countries are here to stay, forever and unshakeable. (Just like newspapers, record shops, libraries, books, banks and post offices, right?) Of course, the status quo isn't stopping some people from preparing for a world where the decentralizing force of technology will render the concept of nationhood irrelevant. If certain trends bear out, we may be among the last generations forced into compulsory citizenship based on those arbitrary squiggles on a map we call borders. This supreme Balkanization may be coming sooner than you think, too. Here we present three radical concepts for the future of civilization, which if taken to their conclusions will not include nations as we know them today. While these concepts may seem out there (because they are), they are informed by very real technologies and have attracted serious consideration by leading professionals from multiple fields. So, let's all soak up that patriotism and civic duty while we can, as it may not be around for much longer.
This conversation will surely go to a place we did not mean it to, but we'll give it a whirl: Did you ever wish you could get more intimate with the Internet? We spend so much time in the virtual space, but only explore it with two senses. Kind of a pity for a species that experiences so much through touch. But researchers around the world are developing various forms of haptic technologies that will further merge the tactile and the digital. Why should we settle for some silly virtual Facebook "poke," when we could be literally poking our friends from anywhere in the world? The 1970s saw the first vibrating beepers (kids, ask your parents or see early-'90s rap videos) that converted data into physical sensation. This primordial buzzy tech evolved little as it found its way into our current crop of smartphones and game controllers. But untargeted vibrating gadgets only hint at what haptics have to offer. To that end, we present eight promising technologies that will further plug our mortal coils into The Matrix. These tactile gadgets may one day be seen as a stop-gap before The Singularity comes and our brains connect directly to computers where we experiences sensations from phantom limbs we never even knew existed. But, in the mean time, here's some cool tech that allow us to smack, prod, and pinch the digital world. (And vice versa.) Poke the gallery below to get rolling. Bonus if you're tapping on a touchscreen.
As it turns out, the universe is totally out of its mind. Not that we don't love the universe with all its bizarre eccentricities and flagrant violations of its own physical laws — we do! There's lots of cool stuff out there. However, we simply can't ignore the fact that the science describing the gritty true nature of all things inevitably leads to one conclusion: the cosmos is completely crazy pants. To help sort through the giant logic purée that is our universe, we have picked out five of the most counter-intuitive, hair-melting scientific ideas for closer inspection. Come join us as we try our best to machete through the dense jungle of formulas and brain-sizzling conclusions and clear the path to comprehension. Or something approaching it. Wish your brain "good luck and safe travels." It's going to need it.
The music, movie, and newspaper industries have all stumbled under the weight of digital democratization, but in due time every institution we hold dear will be minced into unrecognizable puddles of archaic nostalgia goo. It's just a matter of when, not if. To that end, the global hive mind seems to already have its sights set on its next victim: filthy filthy lucre. In the not too distant future, one online enterprise aims to transform the entrenched concept of a "bank" into adorable grandpa babble. Two-year old virtual currency service BitCoin gives individuals the ability to remain anonymous with their financial transactions, thus sidestepping centralized authority (and regulation) altogether and upping the anarchic ante considerably. Following increased notoriety, the system is beginning to show some structural faults such as when hackers recently attacked a popular venue for exchanging bitcoins, thus plummeting their value dramatically (see more inside). However, if BitCoin is able to shake off its growing pains, this experiment in people power will either completely free humanity from its self-constructed shackles or entirely obliterate civilization as we know it. Either way, this is what's happening. Get ready for an exciting ride!
Even if you're not aware of it, your actions are being watched and recorded — everyone online is, in some fashion. For most of us, our online behavior is less of interest to Big Brother than it is to Big Madison Avenue. Still, it's kind of freaky. With that in mind, we present to you part one of our rough guide to remaining anonymous online by using free technology widely available to all. Aside from shielding behaviors from nosy marketers, the power to remain anonymous can be a matter of life, death, or jail time for a wide variety of groups such as human rights advocates and political dissidents all the way down to pirates and criminals — Anyone who exists outside the blessing of the authorities, with good reason or not. Anonymity is just a tool, one that helps protect Robin Hood as well as the common Sherwood ruffian. To put it another way: think of this guide like Yoda teaching Luke all manner of Jedi trickery. But in the end, which side of the Force you go to is entirely up to you. Choose well, young Skywalker.
As it turns out, monsters are real. They're the size of city blocks, made of metal, and probably hanging out not too far from where you live. While these super-sized mechanical beasts may not technically be "mystical creatures" with "supernatural abilities" here to eat our collective face, they are imposing (some might say monstrously so) figments of our everyday world. These gargantuan metal brutes were born at the far reaches of engineering, but can now be found roaming our mines, ports and oceans where they transport outsized payloads, harvest vast swaths of the Earth for raw materials, and blast through blocks of arctic ice like butter. While, officially, the U.S. government has failed to articulate a cohesive mechanical monster policy (in fairness, we reached out to government representatives for comment on this story, but have yet to receive a reply), DVICE's stance is quite clear: we're kinda scared, but that's what we like most about them. And to that end, here are nine of our favorite industrial monsters from the far reaches of the ridiculous scale that could easily destroy you and everything you hold dear. (Sleep tight.)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's newly-revamped online "Vault" gives the public easy access to formerly-secret documents that detail everything from counter-terrorism investigations to rundowns on prominent individuals and potentially "subversive" national organizations. It's a fascinating resource. For example, we were able to discover that the U.S. government spent actual time and money investigating the mid-1960s make-believe band, The Monkees. The curiously heavily-redacted Monkees dossier summarizes the pretend bands' television show as "four young men who dress as 'beatnik types' and is geared primarily to the teenage market." During a Monkees performance, a (name-redacted) source reports that an onstage screen flashed subliminal "left wing innovations of a political nature." But the Bureau isn't all about keeping tabs on fake boy bands, assessing threatening letters sent to Colonel Sanders, or probing Carl Sagan's tenuous connections to Central American terrorists. They also launched numerous investigations into crazy supernatural stuff! The Vault's features previously secret FBI documents looking into phenomenon usually reserved for Hollywood-style escapism. Here's a look at some of the most fascinating real life X-Files.