How to Build a Spacecraft to Save the World

How to Build a Spacecraft to Save the World

There are more than a thousand asteroids with diameters larger than Didymos and Dimorphos combined, and if any of those were to strike Earth, it could lead to mass extinction and the collapse of civilization.“Everyone knows it’s possible to hit an asteroid,” says Justin Atchison, a DART mission designer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Antarctic Glaciers Are Growing Unstable Above and Below Water

Antarctic Glaciers Are Growing Unstable Above and Below Water

Researchers operating special ship-mounted sonar gear found a series of 25-mile-wide channels in the seafloor that bring warm water to the base of the Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers.Together, they revealed massive seafloor channels moving warm water to the base of the glacier.

Why Do Solar Farms Kill Birds? Call in the AI Bird Watcher

Why Do Solar Farms Kill Birds? Call in the AI Bird Watcher

So in 2013, a group of utilities, academics, and environmental organizations came together to form the Avian Solar Working Group to develop strategies to mitigate avian deaths at solar facilities around the US.“There was very little research about the impacts of solar on birds,” says Misti Sporer, the lead environmental scientist at Duke Energy, an electric utility in North Carolina, and member of the working group.

Massachusetts Launches Uber and Lyft's Latest Legal Headache

Massachusetts Launches Uber and Lyft's Latest Legal Headache

On Tuesday, Massachusetts became the second state this year to sue ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft for treating their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Pokemon Go and Sleep No More Creators Are Teaming Up on AR

Pokemon Go and Sleep No More Creators Are Teaming Up on AR

The kind that Punchdrunk, the theater company behind immersive shows like Sleep No More, knows better than anyone.Now Punchdrunk and Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite , are announcing a collaboration that will span multiple projects.

Airbnb Quietly Fired Hundreds of Contract Workers. I'm One of Them

Airbnb Quietly Fired Hundreds of Contract Workers. I'm One of Them

My office life resembled that of any full-time employee: I snacked on charcuterie boards and fresh ahi poke bowls, rejiggered my calendar to accommodate conflicting meetings, and cheered for employees on their work anniversaries (a peculiar Silicon Valley ritual that celebrates equity accruing).Unlike full-time employees, contract workers aren’t entitled to Airbnb’s premium health care, generous 401(k), unlimited paid vacation time, transportation coverage, and stock options.

Baidu Breaks Off an AI Alliance Amid Strained US-China Ties

Baidu Breaks Off an AI Alliance Amid Strained US-China Ties

Chinese search giant Baidu has left The Partnership on AI (PAI), a US-led effort to foster collaboration on the ethical challenges raised by artificial intelligence .Baidu is said to have cited the cost of membership and recent financial pressures for the move.

Covid-19's Toll on Prison Labor Doesn't Just Hurt Inmates

Covid-19's Toll on Prison Labor Doesn't Just Hurt Inmates

In at least 20 states, from Florida to Michigan to Texas to California, incarcerated workers are making hand sanitizer, face masks, and protective gowns at prison manufacturing facilities.Social distancing is hard in prison workplaces, and incarcerated people are unable to self-quarantine to avoid Covid-19 when they’re off the job.

AI-Powered Biotech Can Help Deploy a Vaccine In Record Time

AI-Powered Biotech Can Help Deploy a Vaccine In Record Time

The magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic will largely depend on how quickly safe and effective vaccines and treatments can be developed and tested.As these methods take off in the coming years, we will be able to test all trillions of possible solutions to each health problem very quickly.

This Company Hires Gig Workers—as Employees

This Company Hires Gig Workers—as Employees

Roston candidly compares his business to gig economy apps, offering algorithmic job matching and work-when-you-want flexibility.Three of the four companies selected by the city—Lime , Uber, and Bird-owned Scoot—told WIRED they still use staffing agencies to hire W-2 employees.

Now the Courts Will Decide Whether Uber Drivers Are Employees

Now the Courts Will Decide Whether Uber Drivers Are Employees

Vermont’s Department of Labor wrote in a 2017 bulletin that the “usual course of [Uber]’s business is the provision of a technology platform to its drivers, in exchange for a service fee.” But one federal judge in California called the distinction between technology and transportation company “fatally flawed.” (Uber settled that lawsuit by workers in March 2019, for $20 million.).

An Astronomer Explains Black Holes at 5 Levels of Difficulty

An Astronomer Explains Black Holes at 5 Levels of Difficulty

Perhaps you even know about things like event horizons, the boundary outside of which escape becomes possible, and gravitational waves , the ripples that black holes generate in the cosmic fabric when they collide.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin Hand Over Alphabet’s Reins

Larry Page and Sergey Brin Hand Over Alphabet’s Reins

As the company faces a series of antitrust investigations and mounting employee unrest, its two cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, announced on Tuesday they were stepping down from their leadership roles at the company.

How Overexcited Neurons Might Affect How You Age

How Overexcited Neurons Might Affect How You Age

But recently in Nature, Bruce Yankner, a professor of genetics and neurology at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues reported on a previously overlooked controller of life span: the activity level of neurons in the brain.

The 8-Hour Workday Is a Counterproductive Lie

The 8-Hour Workday Is a Counterproductive Lie

Like most people writing hot takes and think pieces about productivity, I’m focusing on knowledge workers here—those of us who work at desks, mostly in front of computers, in offices or from home.

Meet the Immigrants Who Took On Amazon

Meet the Immigrants Who Took On Amazon

According to Awood, about 35 ­people took part in the walkout; Amazon would later say, yet again, that only 15 employees participated and it didn’t see the event as a strike, either.

8 Ways Overseas Drug Manufacturers Dupe the FDA

8 Ways Overseas Drug Manufacturers Dupe the FDA

At the plant’s quality-control laboratory, an investigator scrutinized the results of high-performance liquid chromatography tests, which measure the impurities in a drug sample and display them as a series of peaks in a record called a chromatogram.

Telemedicine Makes It Safe to Get Abortion Drugs in the Mail

Telemedicine Makes It Safe to Get Abortion Drugs in the Mail

“We have six clinics providing the service in eight states, and one of them is Georgia. “And these also tend to be the most rural states with the fewest abortion providers.” Raymond’s TelAbortion work helps show that telemedicine is safe, and could provide support in lawsuits against that restriction.

California Lawmakers Move to Protect Gig-Economy Workers

California Lawmakers Move to Protect Gig-Economy Workers

The California Assembly passed legislation on Wednesday that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of workers by requiring companies like Uber , Postmates, Amazon Flex, and others to recognize much of their workforce as employees entitled to labor protections and benefits.

The Secret Sauce of Environmental Problem Solving

The Secret Sauce of Environmental Problem Solving

Through efforts like the Bridge Collaborative and SNAPP, willing collaborators have critical venues to find one another and cook that magic sauce we need for environmental problem solving.

The Robots Want to Steal (the Boring Parts of) Your Job

The Robots Want to Steal (the Boring Parts of) Your Job

Which is where people like Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, come in: He’s thinking hard about the past, present, and future of work, so you don’t soon have a robot in your cubicle breathing down your neck.

How Github Is Helping Overworked Chinese Programmers

How Github Is Helping Overworked Chinese Programmers

Last weekend, Katt Gu and Suji Yan, published the “Anti-996 License,” which requires any company that uses the project's software to comply with local labor laws as well as International Labour Organization standards, including the right for workers to collectively bargain and a ban on forced labor.

Google Will Now Require Suppliers to Give Benefits to Workers

Google Will Now Require Suppliers to Give Benefits to Workers

But after sustained protest from contractors and employees, Google said Tuesday it will require outside companies that supply it labor to offer better working conditions, including comprehensive health care, 12 weeks of parental leave, and a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Return of the Obra Dinn Is the Best Indie Game Around

Return of the Obra Dinn Is the Best Indie Game Around

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn won big at this week's Independent Games Festival. Since nearly everyone involved in the videogame industry spent the week at the Game Developers Conference discussing the future and reflecting on the past, a lot of news came out of that annual gathering.

The Deeper Education Issue Under the College Bribery Scandal

The Deeper Education Issue Under the College Bribery Scandal

The 2018 Korn Ferry research forecasts that by 2030 the global technology, media, and telecommunications labor-skills shortage will reach 4.3 million positions and an unrealized output of nearly $450 billion.

International climate experts gather in Wellington

International climate experts gather in Wellington

“NIWA depends on the Unified Model for its forecasting and predictions of New Zealand’s weather and climate and it will be more critical for us in the future as we adapt to a changing climate.” Dr Dean says the Unified Model provides a platform for collaboration that enables development beyond what would be possible by a single organisation.

Is That a Hand? Glitches Reveal Google Books' Human Scanners

Is That a Hand? Glitches Reveal Google Books' Human Scanners

A finger appears beside a page a Google Books scan. These glitches, collected in Andrew Norman Wilson's Scan Ops , reveal the old-school manual labor that still supports the digital age, even at the Googleplex.

Google Wanted to Prohibit Workers From Organizing by Email

Google Wanted to Prohibit Workers From Organizing by Email

But three weeks later, Google’s lawyers took a different stance, asking the US government to overturn Obama-era protections that supported employees’ right to organize using their work email,.

Tech Workers Unite to Fight Forced Arbitration

Tech Workers Unite to Fight Forced Arbitration

Tech Workers Unite to Fight Forced Arbitration Organizers of a walkout by Google employees on Nov. 1 say employers use arbitration clauses to suppress workers facing harassment and discrimination.

Toyota Hits the Water With an Investment in Robo-Ships

Toyota Hits the Water With an Investment in Robo-Ships

It is working on systems that will automate smaller vessels, where human labor can account for more than half of operating costs: workboats (the marine industry’s equivalent of construction vehicles), ships that do offshore surveys, firefighting, security, and responding to oil spills.