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Here Come the Internet Blackouts

Here Come the Internet Blackouts

This article originally appeared in the New America Weekly. On the first day of the new year, the Democratic Republic of Congo cut internet connections and SMS services nationwide—for the second day
It Might Be Aliens. But We Have No Idea What to Do About It.

It Might Be Aliens. But We Have No Idea What to Do About It.

Abraham Loeb, chair of Harvard’s department of astronomy, recently gave a freewheeling interview to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in which he defended his hypothesis that a piece of alien technology
The Fake Washington Post Wasn’t Fake News

The Fake Washington Post Wasn’t Fake News

On Wednesday morning, a fake Washington Post ran a fake front page with a fake news story titled “Unpresidented: Ending Crisis, Trump Hastily Departs White House.” The fake Washington Post was printed
China Grew a Plant on the Moon. It’s Already Dead.

China Grew a Plant on the Moon. It’s Already Dead.

In 2012, Newt Gingrich proposed a space program that would put a colony on the moon by 2021; that same year, startup Mars One announced its hope to get a little civilization up and running on Mars by
Science Gets Shut Down Right Along With the Federal Government

Science Gets Shut Down Right Along With the Federal Government

When the U.S. government shuts down, much of the science that it supports is not spared. And there is no magic light switch that can be flipped to reverse the impact. For instance, large-scale
Could the #10YearChallenge Really Improve Facial Recognition Tech?

Could the #10YearChallenge Really Improve Facial Recognition Tech?

Over the past week, the #2009vs2019 meme challenge, alternately known as the #10yearchallenge and #HowHardDidAgeHitYou, has become the latest social media trend ripe for think piece fodder. While the
Biometrics vs. the Fifth Amendment

Biometrics vs. the Fifth Amendment

When you think about digital privacy (if you think about digital privacy), the section of the Constitution that most immediately comes to mind is probably the Fourth Amendment—you know, the one that
Antitrust in the House

Antitrust in the House

The most recent major antitrust case in the U.S. happened 20 years ago, when the federal government went after Microsoft. In the decades since, technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and
Social Media’s Weird Future

Social Media’s Weird Future

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play. On Wednesday’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will
Future Tense Newsletter: Beyond Cyberpunk

Future Tense Newsletter: Beyond Cyberpunk

Within science fiction today, we’ve got a veritable feast of subgenres and microgenres. No longer, for example, do we just have cyberpunk: There’s now steampunk, biopunk, nanopunk, stonepunk,
Practice Hacktivism at Your Own Risk

Practice Hacktivism at Your Own Risk

People launch cyberattacks for all sorts of different reasons—to steal money, to steal secrets, to show off their skills, to wreak havoc, but also for (what they consider to be) altruistic reasons.
Drones Are the New Flying Saucers

Drones Are the New Flying Saucers

There’s something weird in the sky. It’s blinking, it’s hovering, it’s making loud noises. But how do you describe what you saw? Your answer is probably dependent on the time you live in. In 1561, you
Close the National Parks Now

Close the National Parks Now

For several years, “at most once a day,” my inbox has pinged with any mention of U.S. national parks in the media. As a national parks scholar, I rely on almost daily Google alerts to draw my
Not All Screen Time Is the Same

Not All Screen Time Is the Same

Screens are bad, especially for young people is an enticing piece of modern day common wisdom. “Our kids are literally dying because of excessive cell phone use,” writes a therapist on Psychology
Will Democratic Leaders Follow Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal?

Will Democratic Leaders Follow Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal?

This story was originally published by High Country News and has been republished here with permission from Climate Desk. On Nov. 13, more than 200 activists protested on Capitol Hill, demanding a
Mark Zuckerberg’s Bad New Year’s Resolution

Mark Zuckerberg’s Bad New Year’s Resolution

Mark Zuckerberg thinks Facebook users are stupid. At least that’s what I’ve concluded from reading a post on his ,” in which he resolves to “host a series of public discussions about the future of
Something Is Broken in Our Science Fiction

Something Is Broken in Our Science Fiction

When it first emerged more than 30 years ago, cyberpunk was hailed as the most exciting science fiction of the ’80s. The subgenre, developed by a handful of younger writers, told stories of the near
Can You Eat a Flamingo?

Can You Eat a Flamingo?

Earlier this month, a colleague discovered, thanks to a tip from a Facebook friend, that if you type “Can you eat a … ” into Google, the search engine offers the helpful suggestion that you complete
Germany Has Ruled Amazon’s Dash Buttons Illegal, and So Should You

Germany Has Ruled Amazon’s Dash Buttons Illegal, and So Should You

Amazon Dash buttons have been ruled illegal in Germany for violating consumer protection legislation, reports Reuters. For the uninitiated, the buttons allow customers to order products, like laundry
Don’t Abandon Sunscreen Just Yet

Don’t Abandon Sunscreen Just Yet

Last week Outside magazine published a surprising piece from Rowan Jacobson, “Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?” Jacobson argues against the use of sunscreen on roughly the following premise: We are too