Science, technology, and all things awesome with Ian Steadman


A pair of palms. Photo: Nate Steiner/Flickr
Swedish students can use palm scanners instead of credit cards to pay for meals
By Ian Steadman - 14 April 17:21

A Swedish university has installed a system that relies on the unique structure of everyone's hands as a new way of letting people purchase food on campus.

Rice attending the Masters golf tournament on 9 April. Photo: Getty Images
Dropbox users are angry that NSA-loving Condoleezza Rice has been appointed to its board
By Ian Steadman - 14 April 10:00

The former US secretary of state, who supported the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping programme, is seen as a terrible choice to sit on the board of the cloud storage company.

A concept illustration of what the Thames Baths might look like. Image: Studio Octopi
Turning the Thames into a swimming pool is a nice way to reclaim a city's dead public space
By Ian Steadman - 10 April 16:56

There's a lot of water in the Thames, so wouldn't it be nice to give people access to it for a bit of fun?

Heartbleed is such a serious leak that it has its own branding. Illustration: Codenomicon.
The “Heartbleed” bug gives hackers access to all of your confidential info - how?
By Ian Steadman - 09 April 16:56

Web engineers are currently in panic mode as they try to repair the damage of a bug that has gone unnoticed for more than two years.

An RAF pilot wearing night vision goggles. Photo: Ministry of Defence/Flickr
Graphene contact lenses could give everyone night vision
By Ian Steadman - 08 April 18:04

Researchers have found a way to make the technology required for seeing in the dark small enough to fit on an eye.

A row of five telephone boxes on Bow Street, London. Photo: Mark Hillary/Flickr
European court rules that continent-wide phone call info collection violates privacy
By Ian Steadman - 08 April 16:23

Privacy advocates secure a big win as EU metadata collection by telecommunications companies gets struck down.

An artist's impression of beneath the surface of Enceladus, including the southern ocean. (Image: Nasa/JPL-Caltech)
Underground ocean increases chances of finding life on Saturn's sixth-largest moon
By Ian Steadman - 04 April 11:46

Enceladus, a peculiar world that spurts water out via geysers, has been confirmed to have liquid water below the surface.

The drone that crashed on Baengnyeong island on 31 March. (Photo: Getty Images)
North Korea is building drones out of toy model plane parts
By Ian Steadman - 03 April 15:10

Two drones that crashed into South Korea, just south of the DMZ, at the end of last month are being analysed for an idea of how advanced North Korea's drone program is.

OK Cupid wants users to ditch Firefox over appointment of anti-gay marriage CEO
By Ian Steadman - 01 April 15:04

Brendan Eich, the new CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, donated money to a campaign to ban gay marriage - a position which some believe clashes with Mozilla's social justice mandate.

The first (red), second (green) and third (blue) sightings of 2012 VP113. (Image: Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo)
Newly-discovered dwarf planet named after Joe Biden hints at undiscovered Planet X
By Ian Steadman - 27 March 13:43

Astronomers have detected a new dwarf planet out in the Oort Cloud, many millions of kilometres out from the orbit of Neptune - and its orbit hints at the existence of something much bigger.

Protesters in Ankara marching against the Turkish government's Twitter ban on 22 March. (Photo: Getty)
Twitter successfully gets Turkish ban lifted with legal petition
By Ian Steadman - 26 March 17:12

A judge in Ankara has ruled that the government in Turkey has no right to restrict access to the social network, as it violates the freedom of access to communication.

The Simpsons already did it. (Image: Screenshot)
Some reasons why Facebook just spent $2bn on a virtual reality headset manufacturer
By Ian Steadman - 26 March 12:43

What could a social network want with the Oculus Rift?

The panel on Monday's Newsnight. L-R: Dr Peiris, Dr Aderin-Pocock, Jeremy Paxman, Associate Professor Pryke. (Image: Screengrab)
UCL calls out Daily Mail for complaining that women of colour can’t be scientists
By Ian Steadman - 21 March 10:14

BBC's Newsnight relied on two British experts to help explain this week's momentous discovery of primordial gravitational waves – but the Mail thinks they could only have been chosen for “diversity” reasons.

Pulsating swirls of gravity, as imaged by BICEP2. (Image: BICEP2 Collaboration)
Why proof of gravitational waves is the biggest physics discovery since the Higgs Boson
By Ian Steadman - 18 March 17:07

Just like the Higgs discovery last year, finding evidence that inflation theory is correct is a smoking gun that can unlock whole new fields of study.

A Chrysler assembly line in Michigan, 2014. (Photo: Getty)
Journalists, here's how robots are going to steal your job
By Ian Steadman - 17 March 18:19

There was an earthquake in LA, and the journalist that scooped everyone else on the story was an algorithm.

The expedition poses with the mammoth remains. (Photo: Northeastern Federal University of Yakutsk)
Cloning woolly mammoths may be a step closer with latest find
By Ian Steadman - 17 March 13:57

A mammoth discovered last year in the Siberian tundra has now been dissected, giving up samples of blood that might increase our chances of one day bringing the species back from the dead.

Spritz, the speed reading app. (Image: Screenshot)
The smartphone app that claims to make reading 1,000 words per minute a doddle
By Ian Steadman - 07 March 12:55

How fast can you read? Not as fast as you could, according to Spritz.

Reasons to be wary of Newsweek's Bitcoin inventor “discovery”
By Ian Steadman - 06 March 17:12

Maybe the mysterious creator of Bitcoin was using his real name all along. Or maybe not.

You only live once, James? Nope - you can achieve immortality as a sausage. (Photo: Getty)
The science behind making your very own James Franco-furter
By Ian Steadman - 28 February 16:24

A website claims to want to grow the meat of celebrities and sell it as a novelty food item - but ignore the joke, because it's technically feasible.

A "star system bonanza" illustration. (Image: Nasa)
Space telescope Kepler confirms huge haul of 715 new exoplanets
By Ian Steadman - 27 February 17:02

You wait a thousand years for a new planet, and hundreds come along at once.

Largest meteor seen hitting the Moon so far captured on film
By Ian Steadman - 25 February 15:35

The flash would have been visible from Earth, and as bright as the brightest stars.

Massive trove of Canadian fossils gives near-unprecedented glimpse of Cambrian explosion
By Ian Steadman - 12 February 17:06

A site in the Kootenay National Park has proved a fantastic source of fossils from the Cambrian explosion, 542 million years ago.

Websites around the world take part in 'The Day We Fight Back' protest against mass surveillance
By Ian Steadman - 11 February 13:03

Banners on websites like reddit, Upworthy and tumblr are a response to the US government's appropriation of the internet as a tool for spying on citizens.

How long can a goldfish survive if you swallow it?
By Ian Steadman - 11 February 12:33

A man taking part in the drinking dare game Neknomination drank a pint with two fish floating in it. This is very much not a good idea, for you OR the goldfish.

Here's why Bitcoin's value is taking another brief tumble
By Ian Steadman - 10 February 17:59

A fraud issue with one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges has built into a crisis that has knocked hundreds of dollars off its value. Again.

Even North Korea doesn't like Windows any more, as its official OS now rips off Apple
By Ian Steadman - 06 February 17:47

Even the communists know that the old way of doing things isn't cutting it any more.

Giant fungus towers will be grown in New York City this summer
By Ian Steadman - 06 February 15:27

Not a response to NYC's overheated property market, but one possible sustainable construction method for the future.

Games developer creates Goat Simulator for a laugh, and it looks accidentally brilliant
By Ian Steadman - 05 February 13:31

Suggested tagline: “Be the goat you want to see in the world.”

A hole lot scarier than they look
By Ian Steadman - 05 February 13:30

Sinkholes can appear any time, anywhere, without warning - a particularly dangerous natural disaster that can't be avoided easily.

Icelandic scientists tap into molten magma for record geothermal energy production
By Ian Steadman - 30 January 18:10

An accidental breakthrough into a chamber beneath the Earth's crust has led to a possible breakthrough in geothermal energy production.