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Stories by Seth Fletcher

Immunizing the Internet [Video]

Scientific American contributor Keren Elazari argues in a 2014 TED talk that securing cyberspace is impossible without the help of hackers.

April 4, 2015 — Seth Fletcher

What Chappie Says, and Doesn't Say, About Artificial Intelligence

I'm not a scold about scientific accuracy in film. As long as a movie is not built on a fundamentally stupid premise (“Lucy,” the Scarlet Johansson vehicle predicated on the false notion that humans use only 10 percent of their brains, comes to mind), I am happy to let myself be entertained...

March 6, 2015 — Seth Fletcher

Hunting Black Holes at the South Pole

Each of the telescopes that the astronomers of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) are currently working to bring into their black-hole-observing, planet-size array is a special case.

February 26, 2015 — Seth Fletcher

The New Chevy Volt Is Impressively Unremarkable

Over the holidays, while visiting family in Southwest Missouri, where I grew up, I saw one of the oddest sights on local roadways since armadillos started showing up as road kill: multiple Chevrolet Volts...

January 12, 2015 — Seth Fletcher
First Flexible Airplane Wing Takes Flight

First Flexible Airplane Wing Takes Flight

In our May 2014 issue, Sridhar Kota, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan and founder and president of the company FlexSys, published an article about his long-running campaign to take complex, multipart machines and redesign them as flexible, one-piece devices (subscription required)...

December 12, 2014 — Seth Fletcher

The Black Hole in Interstellar Looks Amazingly Realistic

Wired has a fun piece about physicist and black-hole guru Kip Thorne's work on the film Interstellar, which comes out November 7. We've known the premise of the film for a long time: Earth is a disaster, the human race is on the verge of extinction, and mankind must find a new home...

October 23, 2014 — Seth Fletcher

Quantum Computer Fails Speed Test

How hard can it be to determine whether a computer works as promised? Step one: turn it on. Step two: Try to solve some problems. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

June 19, 2014 — Seth Fletcher

Cloud Bound for Milky Way's Black Hole Puzzles Astronomers

For the past year, astronomers around the world have been watching the center of the Milky Way in anticipation of a once-per-eon event. Right around now (or, technically, 24,000 years ago--that's roughly how far away the galactic center is in light years), a cloud of gas and dust plummeting toward our galaxy's supermassive black hole, [...]..

May 2, 2014 — Seth Fletcher

How To Build An Earth-Size Telescope

Looking into the galactic center is hard. So much dust and gas lies between us and the center of the Milky Way that very little of the visible light emitted there makes it to us.

April 11, 2014 — Seth Fletcher
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