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    The Brilliant “Baloney Slicer” That Started the Digital Age

    In the early 1950s, the U.S. Air Force Supply Depot in Ohio was looking for a faster way to store and fetch information from its sizable inventory. They had 50,000 items in their records and wanted instant access to each one of them. The dominant storage technologies of the time—punch cards, magnetic tape and magnetic […]

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    Seeing Electricity, Hearing Magnetism & Other Sensory Feats

    For elephants, feet are sensory organs.Martin Harvey, Getty Images It’s pretty obvious that dogs have sharper ears and cats a keener sense of smell than we do. But as powerful these senses are, they are merely keener versions of the ones we humans possess. The animal kingdom also boast some senses that are arguably more […]

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    Sparkly Mints May Help Explain Puzzling “Earthquake Lights”

    Agriculture inspector Jim Conacher photographed these earthquake lights over Tagish Lake, in Canada’s Yukon Territory, in 1972Jim Conacher For centuries, people have been reporting mysterious lights along the ground and in the sky soon before an earthquake hits. But it wasn’t until 1966 that there was some solid evidence of the lights, when one man […]

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    An Arguably Unreal Particle Powers All of Your Electronics

    A microscopic image of a metamaterial used to test relativity in a lab.Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Like happy families, every free electron is alike: They all have the same mass, the same electric charge, and the same spin. But inside a solid, various interactions can make electrons behave like entirely different particles. They may act […]