Operators Tweak That Handsome Furs Magic Into Synth Heaven

When the curtain was first raised at the Future Islands show at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood last week I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know who would be opening for the Baltimore-based band and hadn't bothered to check. Squinting to make out the lead singer's face (I really need to update my glasses… » 8/26/14 7:00pm Yesterday 7:00pm

Amazing 1960s Predictions About Satellites, Email, and the Internet

It's hard for many of us living here in the early 21st century to imagine a world without satellites. Well, in fairness, we don't really think about satellites at all. Much like electricity or tap water, we only remember how vital they are when they stop working. Our GPS devices, smartphones, and modern military… » 8/25/14 4:50pm Monday 4:50pm

No, the first baby born under anaesthesia wasn't named Anaesthesia

According to a recent post that's gone viral among science and history nerds, the first baby born to a mother under anaesthesia named her baby Anaesthesia. It's an amusing fun fact. But unfortunately, it's too good to be true. Anaesthesia was reportedly a nickname sometimes used by the doctor who delivered the baby… » 8/21/14 5:30pm Thursday 5:30pm

Elephants, monkeys, and the Holy Spirit can't claim copyright in the US

A new paper from the US Copyright Office has been published to clarify what can and what cannot be copyrighted. Novels written by human beings are covered. What's not covered? Photos taken by monkeys, murals painted by elephants, and songs written by ghosts. » 8/21/14 1:20pm 8/21/14 1:20pm

Stop Pretending There's a Line Dividing Politics and Tech

"Silicon Valley is a place where seemingly impossible problems are solved every day," Ezra Klein writes in a new post for The Verge. "...while Washington is a place where solvable problems prove impossible to do anything about." Klein presents a huge chasm dividing the worlds of technology and politics. This idea is… » 8/20/14 4:50pm 8/20/14 4:50pm

How an 80s Book for Kids Predicted Today's Spy Satellites and Cyberwars

Back when I was a kid in the 1980s and 90s I assumed that one day governments would be able to spy on anyone from space. Where did I get this idea? From the odd sci-fi movie or three. As well as books like Future War and Weapons by Neil Ardley from 1981. The unnerving part? They weren't wrong. » 8/19/14 6:30pm 8/19/14 6:30pm

The Show That Warned Us Enemy of the State Was a Documentary

"PFFFFTTTTTT! WE ALREADY KNEW THAT!" was a common response from some people when last summer's Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA was monitoring American communications. And in some ways, they were right. We already knew a lot thanks to PBS documentaries. So what PBS documentary will we point to when we learn that… » 8/18/14 6:10pm 8/18/14 6:10pm

Yeah, I ran Paleofuture independently from 2007-2011 and then went to Smithsonian 2011-2013. When I was hired at Gizmodo, part of the deal was that I'd bring my entire archive of posts with me from both, since I retained copyright on everything I wrote under the Paleofuture name. So, you'll see some old posts shared… » 8/18/14 5:05pm 8/18/14 5:05pm

PR workers outnumber journalists 5 to 1 in the US

Back in 2004, public relations specialists outnumbered journalists about 3 to 1 in the United States. Today, as steady jobs in journalism disappear, it's roughly 5 to 1. One reason more Americans are taking home a PR paycheck? It certainly pays a lot better than working in journalism. » 8/18/14 1:15pm 8/18/14 1:15pm

Since business owners are on the hook for any counterfeit bills they receive, did you ever feel guilty spending your fake money at small businesses where you could potentially do a lot more damage than at large chain stores where they can absorb financial losses much easier? » 8/14/14 2:53pm 8/14/14 2:53pm

This Is What American Police of the Future Were Supposed to Look Like

The 1981 kids' book Future War and Weapons by Neil Ardley is filled with the bleaker side of futurism. It's chock full of colorful illustrations of robot armies, war in space, and fallout shelters. But we also get a brief look at the police of tomorrow — police that, while certainly armed, don't look quite like the… » 8/14/14 2:40pm 8/14/14 2:40pm

The first audiobooks were invented for blind Americans in the 1930s

Long before they were used for music, long playing records (LPs) were used almost exclusively for audiobooks. These audiobooks were distributed to blind Americans in the 1930s and 40s. And in fact, it was effectively illegal for sighted persons to listen to LP audiobooks from 1934 until 1948, due to licensing… » 8/13/14 2:30pm 8/13/14 2:30pm

How One 1920s Feminist Imagined Our Futuristic High-Tech World

Josephine Daskam Bacon was an author known for her adventure serials that featured female protagonists. But in 1929, she took a break from her regular fiction writing and slipped on her futurist goggles for an article in Century magazine titled "In Nineteen Seventy-Nine." Bacon imagined just how much progress women… » 8/12/14 5:15pm 8/12/14 5:15pm