Although it seems that modern technology is all about making everything smaller, when it comes to unlocking the secrets of the universe, science is all about going big . Really big. Right at this moment, scientists and engineers are in the process of building -- or using -- instruments that look like the engine for a Star Destroyer.
We tend to think of escape pods as a science fiction trope: They jettison off of Star Destroyers or launch out the top of giant mechanical spiders just before Will Smith destroys them with a pun. But they're not all fictional: When everything has gone to hell, when the ship is sinking, when the shuttle is exploding, when that natural disaster is bearing down on you relentlessly, take hope. There actually might be an escape pod nearby ...
As we have previously mentioned , hilarious things happen when writers try to write characters who are smarter than themselves. For instance, I don't doubt that some research goes into writing the medical jargon on House , but we all know that at some point they fake it. And that's fine, because what percentage of the audience is composed of not only doctors, but genius doctors? It's probably not even half.
Since Google Earth hit the Web in 2005, besides instantly turning all office desk globes into decorative accessories, it has opened the world up to global exploration at the click of a mouse. But it's not just a neat toy; some extraordinary things have been discovered with its one-click access to satellite imagery. Things like ... The Real-World Land of the Lost Getty From the non-PVP-enabled safety of their computers, British researchers were using Google Earth to look around Africa when they noticed a patch of forest on and around Mozambique's Mount Mabu that they didn't know was there .
There's nothing stupider than a crowd. Take an average, intelligent person and put him in an emergency and he'll likely remain calm and await instructions. Put him in a crowd and he'll start screaming, looting and overturning cars.
Back in the old days, we didn't have all these gadgets to tell us how full something was or how hot the day was, we just looked at the thing or noticed how much we were sweating. Now that we have all the fancy gauges and buttons modern life provides to us, we may have gotten a little bit overdependent on them. As it turns out, many of these gadgets are scarily inaccurate or even deliberately configured to lie to and appease us. #8. Fuel Gauges Getty
Every conversation about health care these days is about the skyrocketing cost, and how we're going to pay for it and what the government should do about it. But in the middle of that conversation, we kind of lose track of the fact that downright jaw-dropping advances are being made every day. That's one reason the stuff costs so much, after all.
As we've discussed before , military weapons seem to be the product of designers who are equal parts brilliant and insane. When their brilliance shines through, entire wars can be swung in one nation's favor. When the insanity wins, their designs wind up in a Cracked article.
From the 1950s up through the early 1990s, the specter of nuclear war cast a shadow over the world like a giant, gloomy mushroom tattoo. Hollywood and our own morbid imaginations came up with any number of scenarios that would wipe out humanity in a series of blinding flashes: robots, Russian and American policies of mutually assured destruction. But Kubrick was probably closest when he imagined the nuclear era as a game of poker between cocky, absent-minded lunatics.
We admit it: We are pretty hard on the Soviet Union , partly because a lot of us grew up doing nuclear war drills in preparation for a Soviet first strike, and partly because almost everything they did was hilarious. For instance, because the Russians were always running behind the West in technology, their entire technological development process involved waiting for their enemies to invent something, at which point they would grab a photo of it and demand their engineers make an exact copy using less money and time and lower quality materials. The results were often ridiculous.
Making fun of hilariously ill-conceived military weapons has become one of our favorite pastimes . Especially when, on the surface, the weapon appears to be badass bordering on invincible . Here are the weapons that almost worked, in a world where "almost working" might as well be "hilarious failure." #6. The Only Thing a Saint-Chamond Tank Couldn't Conquer Was Potholes dieselpunks
In certain circles (usually Asian-Americans and people who want to pretend they're Asians), the cool thing is to have a Japanese import that looks like it's souped up for street racing. If all the modifications are useless and possibly counterproductive, it's what my people call a "rice rocket." You probably have to call it something else, or else you're a racist.
Several years ago, I convinced a lot of people on our message board to prank call a local radio DJ after he was mean to a friend of mine. You can imagine my surprise when I was arrested within a couple of hours, charged with, I guess, instigating phone shenanigans. (To this day I'm not completely sure they didn't just make up a law to charge me with.) The point being, there's a whole lot of silly shit that people like me do online because there's this unspoken rule that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. That illusion is often shattered only by the sound of a cop kicking down your door.
We've all done stupid things with computers at work. For most of us, this means facing the wrath of the passive-aggressive IT guy. But there are certain jobs where making the same mistakes can cost companies billions of dollars, and sometimes costs people their lives. For instance ...
If movies are to be believed, hackers are mostly kept busy fighting the man with CGI animations of smiley faces, or else dwelling in the darkest corners of their mothers' basements and doing purely nerdy stuff that never affects the real world. But neither assumption is true: Hacking does not look like a rad skateboarder busting a kickflip over an onyx tower, and hackers do gain access to things that can affect your daily life ... and sometimes, even end it . #8. Explode Your Genitals We think we have a pretty good idea of what hackers are capable of: stealing your personal information, crashing your computer, Rollerblading like a sonofabitch and making out with Angelina Jolie (back when she was hot, before her alien DNA kicked in and she started looking like a hawk-monster). But today's hackers have finally crossed a line, and must be terminated with extreme prejudice.