The Code That Controls Your Money

COBOL, an old coding language that not many people know about, controls the world’s financial systems.

Source: Wealthsimple
Published: Nov 10, 2020
Length: 21 minutes (5,399 words)

No Parking Here

Clive Thompson investigates how the rise of autonomous cars, and Americans’ desire to live in more walkable cities, will mean no longer having to set aside vast amounts of land for parking lots.

Source: Mother Jones
Published: Jan 20, 2016
Length: 19 minutes (4,773 words)

This Is the Man Bill Gates Thinks You Absolutely Should Be Reading

The author of nearly three dozen books on the decline of manufacturing in America, and a future in which innovation can’t save us but reducing our consumption might:

Most innovation is not done by research institutes and national laboratories. It comes from manufacturing—from companies that want to extend their product reach, improve their costs, increase their returns. What’s very important is in-house research. Innovation usually arises from somebody taking a product already in production and making it better: better glass, better aluminum, a better chip. Innovation always starts with a product.

Look at LCD screens. Most of the advances are coming from big industrial conglomerates in Korea like Samsung or LG. The only good thing in the US is Gorilla Glass, because it’s Corning, and Corning spends $700 million a year on research.

Source: Wired
Published: Nov 26, 2013
Length: 7 minutes (1,807 words)

The Pen That Never Forgets

Dervishaj’s entire grade 7 math class has been outfitted with “smart pens” made by Livescribe, a start-up based in Oakland, Calif. The pens perform an interesting trick: when Dervishaj and her classmates write in their notebooks, the pen records audio of whatever is going on around it and links the audio to the handwritten words.

Published: Sep 16, 2010
Length: 13 minutes (3,411 words)

Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem

Featuring a swaggering, steroidal, wisecracking hero, Duke Nukem 3D became one of the top-selling videogames ever, making its creators very wealthy and leaving fans absolutely delirious for a sequel. The team quickly began work on that sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, and it became one of the most hotly anticipated games of all time. It was never completed.

Source: Wired
Published: Dec 21, 2009
Length: 32 minutes (8,066 words)

Are Your Friends Making You Fat?

Scientists have for the first time found some solid basis for a potentially powerful theory in epidemiology: that good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses.

Published: Sep 10, 2009
Length: 30 minutes (7,695 words)

Can Game Theory Predict When Iran Will Get the Bomb?

Is Iran going to build a bomb?

Published: Aug 12, 2009
Length: 19 minutes (4,842 words)

Batteries Not Included

Shai Agassi stood in a warehouse on the outskirts of Tel Aviv one afternoon last month and watched his battery-swapping robot go to work. He was conducting a demonstration of the curious machine that is central to his two-year-old clean-energy company, which is called Better Place.

Published: Apr 16, 2009
Length: 17 minutes (4,457 words)