Athletic Authorities Must Reckon With Racing Tech Again

On October 12, 2019, Eliud Kipchoge crossed under a pink finishing arch emblazoned with the time 1:59:40. He had just become the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. For a few hours, this achievement, long unthinkable, was celebrated across the world....

No, the Wuhan Virus Is Not a ‘Snake Flu’

Sharing data during an outbreak is vital for public health. But it can also lead to sensational, and even spurious, research, like a controversial new paper claiming that people probably picked up a novel coronavirus from snakes. One of the many mysteries behind the...

Don’t Break Up Big Tech

It’s debatable whether antitrust enforcement has ever been particularly effective. Even a charitable reading of its legacy suggests that the first effect of disrupting Big Tech might be to enrich the oligopoly’s shareholders, which is certainly not what advocates...

Maps Are Biased Against Animals

Type Serengeti into Google Maps. The screen immediately zooms in on a large light-green section of northern Tanzania, displaying a few man-made roads and a red border. The birds’-eye-view graphics identify the mile markers, topography, and glamping accommodations of...

The Unbearable Softness of Engineered Fabrics

Heebie-jeebies is both the informal and the default technical term for a dysphoric response to an innocent-seeming stimulus. Styrofoam, celery, wicker: Something in these materials represents a sensorial crisis for certain human bodies. The primordial...

Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs

We like to think modern culture moves at a dizzying pace, fueled by a relentless parade of new works of music, literature, and technological design. Change in nature, by contrast, seems to follow a slower trajectory as genetic mutations over generations give animals...

A Practical Guide for Building Ethical Tech

"Techlash," the rising public animosity toward big tech companies and their impacts on society, will continue to define the state of the tech world in 2020. Government leaders, historically the stewards of protecting society from the impacts of new innovations, are...

These Photos Bend Time and Space. Literally

In 2005, multidisciplinary artist Jay Mark Johnson flew to Germany to purchase a very special, very expensive new gadget—a hand-made digital camera capable of capturing 360-degree panoramic images at resolutions as high as 500 megapixels. “It was the hottest thing in...