The Atlantic: Science and Technology

When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair

When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair

“Okay, we’ll see you in two-and-a-half hours,” the clerk tells me, taking the iPhone from my hand. I’m at the Apple Store, availing myself of a cheap smartphone battery replacement, an offer the
The Righteous Anger of the Parkland Shooting’s Teen Survivors

The Righteous Anger of the Parkland Shooting’s Teen Survivors

Something was different about the mass shooting this week in Parkland, Florida, in which 14 students and three adults were killed.It was not only the death toll. The mass murder at Marjory Stoneman

People Will Always Get Lost

On the sense-of-direction scale, mine is immeasurably bad. I simply cannot find my way. The minute I try to make sense of a map, an unfathomable emotional process takes over. I can get within two
The Case of the Sick Americans in Cuba Gets Stranger

The Case of the Sick Americans in Cuba Gets Stranger

Toward the end of 2016, years into a slow rapprochement between the United States and Cuba, something strange started happening to CIA agents posing as diplomats in Havana.This something may or may
What It’s Like to Finally Meet After Dating Online for Months

What It’s Like to Finally Meet After Dating Online for Months

Seventy years ago, the Yale sociologist John Ellsworth Jr. was researching marriage patterns in small towns and concluded: “People will go as far as they have to to find a mate, but no farther.” This
Who Is Weev, and Why Did He Derail a Journalist's Career?

Who Is Weev, and Why Did He Derail a Journalist's Career?

In the span of about six hours yesterday, The New York Times announced the hiring of Quinn Norton as a tech columnist and then apparently fired her. The Times claims that their decision to “go their
China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious

China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious

For all the particularities of life in China, its big cities offer a familiar cosmopolitanism. Teenagers giggle over K-Pop videos in a Chengdu Starbucks. Strollers and dog walkers compete with an
19th-Century Paleontology Was at the Forefront of Big Data

19th-Century Paleontology Was at the Forefront of Big Data

In 1981, when I was 9 years old, my father took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although I had to squint my eyes during some of the scary scenes, I loved it in particular because I was fairly sure
Astronomers Are Already Planning for the Next 'Pale Blue Dot'

Astronomers Are Already Planning for the Next 'Pale Blue Dot'

In 1977, humans launched twin robotic probes into space several weeks apart. The two Voyager spacecraft barreled away from Earth for a tour of our planet’s siblings in the solar system. At each
Google’s Guinea-Pig City

Google’s Guinea-Pig City

Quayside is a nondescript, 12-acre chunk of land on the southern edge of Toronto’s downtown. It’s just three miles from my apartment, but getting there takes almost an hour by subway, bus, and foot.
The NASA Space Telescope Trump Wants to Cancel

The NASA Space Telescope Trump Wants to Cancel

The Trump administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 and put dozens of federal programs on the chopping block, including a brand-new NASA space telescope that scientists say
Stop Saying 'Smart Cities'

Stop Saying 'Smart Cities'

The term “smart city” is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it. “Smart” is a snazzy political label used by a modern alliance of leftist urbanites and tech industrialists. To deem
Instagram Will Now Tell You When Someone Screenshots Your Story

Instagram Will Now Tell You When Someone Screenshots Your Story

The most vibrant new medium invented in past five years isn’t or Apple’s animoji. It’s the story: the chronological procession of photos, video, and text that erases itself after 24 hours.Invented by
The Jet Engine is a Futuristic Technology Stuck in the Past

The Jet Engine is a Futuristic Technology Stuck in the Past

“Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX’s Ambition Into Orbit.” So reads a New York Times headline on the biggest spectacle of the week. Elon Musk’s latest rocket blasted into the
Waymo vs. Uber Fizzles Just as It Was Getting Good

Waymo vs. Uber Fizzles Just as It Was Getting Good

Well, it’s over.The technology world’s most hotly anticipated trial in years has ended in a settlement: This morning, Uber and Waymo announced that the dispute over an alleged theft of trade secrets
Where Is Elon Musk's Space Tesla Actually Going?

Where Is Elon Musk's Space Tesla Actually Going?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—There is, at this very moment, a shiny red car floating around in our solar system.The car, a 2008 Tesla Roadster, hitched a ride to space on what is now the most powerful rocket
Inside Facebook's Fast-Growing Content-Moderation Effort

Inside Facebook's Fast-Growing Content-Moderation Effort

Monika Bickert is a serious, impressive person. Before she became Facebook’s head of global policy management, she put her Harvard law degree to work as an assistant U.S. attorney going after corrupt
WWI’s Zeppelin Bombings Popularized the Trend of ‘Pyjamas’

WWI’s Zeppelin Bombings Popularized the Trend of ‘Pyjamas’

World War I introduced so many terrifying new ways to die, and chief among those was, of course, death by air.You didn’t even have to be a soldier. For Londoners, the threat began in January 1915,
Elon Musk's Victory Lap

Elon Musk's Victory Lap

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—You had to see it to believe it, and even then, you weren’t quite sure it really happened. The successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, stunned
A Triumphant First Launch for Elon Musk's Giant Rocket

A Triumphant First Launch for Elon Musk's Giant Rocket

Updated on February 6 at 7:29 p.m. ETCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—Seven years ago, the Falcon Heavy was a model rocket, sitting on a table in a conference room in Washington, D.C., in front of some reporters