category_outlined / Science

WIRED February 2016

The Wired mission is to tell the world something they've never heard before in a way they've never seen before. It's about turning new ideas into everyday reality. It's about seeding our community of influencers with the ideas that will shape and transform our collective future. Wired readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they're interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions—or blow their minds.

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12 Numéros


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buckleup, the future is coming

My first car was a 1983 Toyota Corolla hatchback, its color best described as sort of white. The cassette deck bolted under its faded blue dashboard worked about a third of the time. Its 70-some horsepower would strain mightily to achieve speed sufficient to climb a highway on-ramp. The 0-to-60 time hovered around 38 seconds. The window in the driver’s side door had the unsettling habit of falling out of place and sliding into the door’s cavity, which was fine during the West Texas summer but a profound bummer in the winter, when howling winds sent temperatures into the single digits. But I loved that car. It got me to class and to the two—sometimes three—part-time jobs that made my education possible. Without that car, I couldn’t have baked bagels…

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it’s a traaap!

@WIRED / MAIL@WIRED.COM J.J. ABRAMS’The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film in 10 years. But now that Disney is calling the shots, the next trip to a galaxy far, far away will be departing sooner. Much sooner: The company intends to release one Star Wars movie a year for … the rest of time? “You will probably not live to see the last one,” Adam Rogers wrote in the December issue (“The Force Will Be With Us. Always”). With directors like Abrams and Rian Johnson involved, we have a good feeling about this. Re: “The Force Will Be With Us. Always.” “HOW MANY FANS GOT THIS ISSUE AND DEBATED REMOVING THE PLASTIC SLEEVE? Greg Hanson via email “I absolutely loved this article. With Star Wars, characters age and pass the torch.…

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taking flight humanitarian groups must tap the power of startups

AT THE START of his treacherous journey across the Aegean Sea in a rubber dinghy with 62 other refugees, Hassan called a friend in New York. His plan was to keep her on the line in case anything went wrong. It did. The boat sprang a leak and sank. As Hassan went overboard, he managed to hold his phone above the waves so he could tell his friend to alert the Turkish coast guard. He used WhatsApp to send her his location. He was rescued 45 minutes later. ¶ Hassan, a 28-year-old English teacher fleeing the Syrian civil war, set out again the next morning, but only after checking an app called SeaConditions. It didn’t matter: Masked vigilantes attacked his boat, and Hassan had to swim for eight hours to…

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fish do it, eels do it a marine biologist tells all

WHEN CORALS COPULATE, love is literally in the air. “It smells like sex!” says Marah Hardt. She’d know: While scuba diving off the coast of northern Panama, the marine biologist once spent several hours watching whole colonies reproduce. The process starts with the synchronized release of thousands of tiny pink packets from their skeletal bodies—picture an explosion of strawberry Nerds candies swirling through the tide. Once the pods reach the surface, they break open in a hazy (and quite stinky) cloud of eggs and sperm. Ah, life. ¶ For the past three years, Hardt has been documenting the bedroom habits of life in the deep—from polyamorous whales to swinger parties hosted by groupers. Her new book, Sex in the Sea, isn’t just a collection of aquatic erotica, though. She revels…

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slow burn hot new game

JACK KEROUAC SPENT 63 DAYS as a fire lookout in the summer of 1956, and he was bored out of his mind. Unless you’re constitutionally disposed to the solitude and mild anxiety of endlessly surveying a silent landscape for wisps of smoke, it’s not the job for you. But it might be the entertainment for you. A new indie game studio, Campo Santo, has made fire-watching the premise of its debut—and, believe it or not, it’s riveting. ¶ In Firewatch, out in February, you play as Henry, a lost soul who decides to scout for flames in the Wyoming wilderness. His only point of contact is Delilah, a supervisor he communicates with over a handheld radio; it’s a relationship that gets more mysterious as time goes on. The appeal of…

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beyond bitcoin untraceable money—for real

DESPITE ITS REPUTATION as the anonymous currency of the digital underground, bitcoin has never been anonymous enough for Zooko Wilcox. As the 41-year-old cryptographer will remind anyone who’ll listen, the public nature of the blockchain, bitcoin’s ledger of transactions, means that unless currency users funnel it through intermediaries or special software, their transactions can be traced—the opposite of its supposed privacy benefit. ¶ So in January, Wilcox and his team launched the public alpha release of Zcash, the cryptography world’s best shot yet at perfectly untraceable money. Using a mathematical sleight of hand known as a zero-knowledge proof, Zcash offers the same antiforgery assurances as bitcoin but also lets users keep their payments entirely secret. “It’s the first time you can transact with anyone on the Internet and control who…