Researchers at Princeton released a new study on how many online shopping sites use coercive so-called “dark pattern” techniques to trick people into spending more money. “This is manipulating users into making decisions they wouldn’t otherwise make and buying stuff they don’t need,” Gunes Acar, a research associate at Princeton who helped run the study,
Chernobyl has become a byword for catastrophe. The 1986 nuclear disaster, recently brought back into the public eye by the hugely popular TV show of the same name, caused thousands of cancers, turned a once populous area into a ghost city, and resulted in the setting up of an exclusion zone 2600 km² in size.
Magic: The Gathering, the card game where you build your own deck from over 19,000 unique cards and then battle this deck against other people, is not what you would call simple. But a pre-print paper first published in March turns this already complex game up a notch, showing that a specific set of
The data from all those Instagram pictures you’re posting needs to be stored somewhere, and the increasing amount of digital information we’re all producing means we also need an increasing amount of energy just to store it all. Now scientists have come up with a working example of what’s known as universal memory, a
When it comes to supersonic aircraft, engineers aren’t afraid to go with a weird design if it will get them a faster plane. In the latest instalment of such feats, NASA’s X-59 QueSST has taken the shape of a pencil with wings. The aircraft’s shape brings with it some interesting questions. For example, if the
It’s official, Facebook’s making its own currency. The social network on Tuesday unveiled Libra, the secretive cryptocurrency it’s been working on for more than a year. The currency is being backed by investment from big payment companies like Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal, as well as tech giants including Uber and Spotify. Facebook has high
The reminder to not believe everything we see has never been more relevant than now. In the latest video manipulation advance, researchers have worked out how to turn written text into a realistic video of someone saying those very words. We’ve seen this sort of deepfake trickery before, where clips of famous people are
Earth’s temperatures are on track to blow past the objectives set in the Paris climate agreement. Last year was the fourth warmest on record for surface temperatures and the hottest ever for oceans. A recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that nations around the globe must implement
Smartphone addiction does not seem like a questionable thing to believe in. It exists. Surely it does, doesn’t it? After all, there’s a Wikipedia page on it. The New York Times writes about it. There are even claims it’s killing us, that smartphones are destroying an entire generation. But while nobody is saying we should be
Scientists have demonstrated a lightweight type of foam made of hollow metallic spheres that can withstand the incredible impact of .50 calibre rounds: the kinds of bullets fired by heavy machine guns and sniper rifles. While weighing only about half as much as conventional steel armour, this engineered material – called composite metal foam
Electric car motors, iPhones, military jet engines, batteries, and satellites all have something in common: They require rare-earth elements to function. Rare-earth elements are a group of 17 metals that – as their name suggests – form under the Earth’s surface and are difficult to find and extract. But they are crucial to the
The Dutch airline KLM is funding the development of a V-shaped aeroplane designed to seat passengers in its wings to make it more fuel-efficient, the company announced Monday. Its futuristic shape will make the “Flying V” lighter and more aerodynamic, KLM said. Its designers say it will need 20 percent less fuel than an Airbus
Solar panels are fantastic pieces of technology, but we need to work out how to make them even more efficient – and scientists just solved a 40-year-old mystery around one of the key obstacles to increased efficiency. A new study outlines a material defect in silicon used to produce solar cells that has previously
Twitter, used by 126 million people daily and now ubiquitous in some industries, has vowed to reform itself after being enlisted as a tool of misinformation and hate. But new evidence shows that the platform may be inflicting harm at an even more basic level. It could be making its users, well, a bit witless.