Science, technology, and all things awesome with Ian Steadman


Dancers perform on stage as the English National Ballet rehearse 'Coppelia' at the Coliseum on July 22, 2014 in London, England. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Hearing disembodied voices as violent or helpful depends on culture, study finds
By Ian Steadman - 23 July 13:09

A Stanford study has found that those who hallucinate voices are influenced by the culture they live in, with differences in mood and tone depending upon where in the world they live.

Silicon Valley wants to split California into six new states out of selfishness
By Ian Steadman - 17 July 17:33

A venture capitalist's dream of a Silicon Valley freed from the pesky regulations of intrusive government is going to a statewide ballot in 2016.

A map generated by ESA's Swarm array, detailing changes in the Earth's magnetic field - red is strengthening, blue is weakening. Image: ESA/DTU Space
Get ready for the Earth's magnetic field to flip over
By Ian Steadman - 16 July 18:20

New satellite data has indicated that the Earth's magnetic field is weakening, ahead of a rare - but regular - event.

A graphic from Megumi Igarashi's crowdfunding campaign for her vagina kayak. Image: Megumi Igarashi
Japanese artist arrested for disseminating 3D-printing files for kayak copy of her vagina
By Ian Steadman - 15 July 14:01

While Megumi Igarashi's work usually involves humorous repurposing of female genitalia, her most recent project has fallen foul of the authorities in Japan.

Look at this amazing picture of Jupiter's moon Europa
By Ian Steadman - 10 July 16:55

This colourised picture of Europa is just beautiful.

A Colombian reads a newspaper the day after Germany beat Brazil with a record 7-1 victory in their World Cup Brazil 2014 semi final. Photo: Getty Images
Football is all the easier to love, or hate, because it is unquantifiable
By Ian Steadman - 09 July 16:25

Brazil's disintegration against Germany was shocking because it so utterly exceeded our expectations of what was likely to happen - and we enjoy football more because it resists predictability.

Deepak Chopra attends The Chopra Well Launch Event at Espace on July 18, 2012 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
Deepak Chopra doesn't understand quantum physics, so Brian Cox wants $1,000,000 from him
By Ian Steadman - 07 July 13:17

Sometimes, when it feels like putting your money where you mouth is feels like it can't fail, it's worth stepping back and reconsidering. Just in case.

An in-game screenshot from Hearthstone - unsuitable for women? Image: Blizzard
Men-only pro gaming events ended after everyone points out how ridiculous they are
By Ian Steadman - 04 July 14:30

A Finnish games tournament has raised the strange issue of a gender divide in professional esports - apparently, because the international body wants to be taken seriously.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Getty Images
How Facebook's news feed controls what you see and how you feel
By Ian Steadman - 30 June 15:42

The social media giant has allowed scientists to conduct a mass experiment in psychological manipulation on hundreds of thousands of users - without consent.

Uruguay's Luis Suarez (r) holds his teeth after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini (l) on the shoulder during a match on 24 June. Photo: Getty Images
You are more likely to be bitten by Luis Suarez (1 in 2,000) than a shark (1 in 3,700,000)
By Ian Steadman - 25 June 12:13

The Uruguay and Liverpool forward keeps biting other players – how much should they worry when they play him?

An emoji keyboard from an iPhone. Image: Screenshot
How to stop feeling left out when other people talk about emoji
By Ian Steadman - 20 June 10:53

A short guide to the way the kids are talking theses days.

The concept rendering for the Phoenix Towers, in Wuhan, China. Image: Chetwoods
China's new tool for fighting pollution and climate change: kilometre-tall skyscrapers
By Ian Steadman - 18 June 11:39

An architecture firm has proposed two new towers - which would both be taller than the current tallest building in the world if built - as giant air- and water-filtering structures for a polluted Chinese city.

The recently-used emoji section of the writer's iPhone. Image: Screenshot
Emoji update features 250 new pictures, including Vulcan salute and raised middle finger
By Ian Steadman - 17 June 17:25

The body that regulates the standards for language on the web has announced a host of new emojis.

A Tesla showroom in Miami, Florida. Photo: Getty Images
Tesla's patent giveaway isn't as strings-free as it seems
By Ian Steadman - 13 June 16:04

The manufacturer of the world's best electric cars is opening up its patent portfolio for anyone who wants to use it "in good faith" - why?

The Tweetdeck login page. Image: Muhammad Rafizeldi/Flickr
Using Tweetdeck? Log out right now, or someone might take control of your computer
By Ian Steadman - 11 June 17:17

An old error has re-emerged, and it could cause trouble for those using Twitter's dashboard application.

Charlotte Corday, left of centre, being taken to her execution in an 1889 painting by Arturo Michelena. Image: Public Domain
Ubisoft drops playable female character from Assassin's Creed: Unity because "it's too much work"
By Ian Steadman - 11 June 14:29

The developer has dropped female playable characters from the game because apparently it was too difficult.

A couple attaches a padlock with their names on it to the Ponts des Arts, Paris. Photo: Getty Images
How to break a bridge with the weight of too many padlocks
By Ian Steadman - 10 June 14:12

A lovely fad to leave padlocks on bridges is causing structural damage to one in Paris. How dangerous a gesture is it?

We are not chimpanzees. Photo: Getty Images
The sexist pseudoscience of pick-up artists: the dangers of “alpha male” thinking
By Ian Steadman - 04 June 17:13

We can mock the men in silly hats who claim to be experts in picking up women, but their weird anthropological worldview – of “alpha males” competing for “targets” – is a nonsense that has bled out into other sexist discourse. 

This image shows ocean surface winds for Hurricane Sandy observed at 9:00 p.m. PDT Oct. 28 (12:00 a.m. EDT Oct. 29) by the OSCAT radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) OceanSat-2 satellite. Image: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech
No fury like a woman storm: are hurricanes with female names deadlier?
By Ian Steadman - 03 June 15:40

A study has found that hurricanes with female names are three times as deadly as those with male names - and suggests that this is because societal sexism makes people take women less seriously.

Watch: John Oliver tells you exactly why you should care about net neutrality
By Ian Steadman - 03 June 10:40

Comedian demands that internet trolls direct their bile in a useful direction for once.

Why does London have more airports than any other city, anyway?
By Ian Steadman - 29 May 17:36

London has more airports than any other major city - which is a bit odd, really. This video helpfully explains why.

US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy looks around the central control room for the unit one and unit two reactors of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 14 May 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Plan to block radioactive water from Fukushima with frozen wall of ice goes into action
By Ian Steadman - 28 May 16:22

Japanese authorities are to begin the operation at the stricken nuclear power plant, damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tourists watch a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in Bel-Air, LA, while on a coach ride around celebrity homes. Photo: Getty Images
Study finds that people get frightened more by “global warming” than “climate change”
By Ian Steadman - 28 May 10:28

Many people use them interchangeably, but they mean subtly different things - yet when it comes to influencing public opinion, scientists should perhaps use the less-accurate one.

The Moon, in the sky, as it has been for ages and will continue to for ages yet to come. Photo: Getty Images
Lasers set new broadband internet speed record for the Moon
By Ian Steadman - 27 May 17:04

The space explorers of the future are going to need a decent web connection - how else are they going to watch Netflix?

A concept rendering of Floating City. Image: AT Design Office
Floating city the size of Heathrow could moor up off Hong Kong
By Ian Steadman - 22 May 16:03

A surprisingly feasible (but still not entirely likely) idea to live, like our ancient forefathers, in the ocean - on a giant floating city ship.

It came from space, to devour the human race! Image: Paramount
The Blob is real, sort of (it's magnetised silly putty)
By Ian Steadman - 20 May 17:37

Both a neat toy and a delightful illustration of how magnetism works.

J L Barr, a phrenologist, demonstrates how to read someone’s personality from the bumps on their head, 27 January 1937. Photo: Getty Images
“Jews are adapted to capitalism”, and other nonsenses of the new scientific racism
By Ian Steadman - 20 May 11:34

Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance argues that the genetic differences between racial groups explain why the West is rich and Africa is poor - but beneath the new science lies an old, dangerous lie.

The H4 chronometer, with which John Harrison won the original Longitude Prize in 1759. Photo: David Brossard/Flickr
£10m Longitude Prize aims "to help solve the greatest issues of our time"
By Ian Steadman - 19 May 14:21

To celebrate 300 years since the original Longitude Prize to solve the problem of inaccurate naval navigation, the BBC and Nesta have announced a new prize aimed at solving on of six crucial problems facing humanity.

ISS Expedition 39 flight engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA is carried in a chair to a medical tent just minutes after he and his fellow crew members landed in their Russian Soyuz TMA-11M on May 14, 2014 near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Photo: Getty Images
Russia is dooming the International Space Station to spite the US for Ukraine sanctions
By Ian Steadman - 14 May 11:32

The International Space Station, and the US, rely on Russian space technology - a reliance that Russia is now using as geopolitical leverage.

A French soldier maneuvers a remotely-controlled IED detecting robot during a training exercise at a combat outpost base in Usbeen village in Surobi district of Kabul province on March 13, 2012. Photo: Getty Images
This week the UN is going to debate the ethics of killer robots
By Ian Steadman - 12 May 16:40

Machines that can choose who to kill independently of a human operator are coming, to the concern of ethicists and roboticists alike.