License plates like these may soon be a thing of the past as states move from analogue to digital. brians101/Thinkstock The Winter Olympics are in full swing. Even though you're not a world-class athlete, you can still feel like a champ by expanding your mind. The judges at HowStuffWorks are giving you a score of two articles and a podcast. Here are some of the stories you may have missed this week. The Sanctioned Nobody likes long lines at the DMV, especially Neville Boston, CEO of Reviver Auto and creator of the RPlate Pro, a digital license plate that makes vehicle registration as easy as online shopping. The smart plate is designed to be readable no matter what. If it is damaged, the screen will splinter but not break, just as a windshield does when it's cracked. Plus, the plate will notify the driver and Reviver Auto if it is stolen. Another cool feature is that RPlate Pro gives drivers the option to have a different vanity tag every day. Not everyone is thrilled that license … [Read more...] about Sanctioned, Synthetic, Savory: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
As loneliness becomes an increasing object of study, researchers debate its causes and possible solutions. max-kegfire/Thinkstock With work eating up so much of your time, the weekend seems like a to-do list marathon, but don't forget to enjoy your off-days. Sit back, relax and catch up on some of the HowStuffWorks articles you may have missed this week. The Missing Technologies like the internet and smartphones were expected to bring people together, which they have in some ways, but more people, especially the elderly, report feeling isolated. Are people getting lonelier? Experts are divided. Behavioral scientist Brian Primack believes some are at increased risk of loneliness because of certain societal trends. In the past, Americans lived in smaller spaces with larger families, but now everyone has their own car, room, TV, and they are less likely to communicate face-to-face. For most of human history, people have interacted with each other using facial expressions, hand … [Read more...] about Missing, Molecular, Mysterious: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
App developers make it difficult for users to opt-out of sharing their data. Wenjie Dong/Getty Images Don't have any plans this weekend? Spend some time checking out the latest articles and podcasts from HowStuffWorks. Here are some you may have missed this week. The Spying 20-year-old Nathan Ruser, an Australian student and analyst at the Institute for United Conflict Analytics, made headlines this week when he tweeted about a heatmap showing Strava-user activity. Strava is a fitness app for cyclists and joggers that tracks the speed and distance of a workout. In places like the continental United States and Western Europe, the map is very bright, but in Iraq and Syria, the only lit areas are the locations of U.S. military bases. What's so concerning to high-ranking officials at the Pentagon and other agencies, is that the map highlights frequently traveled routes inside and outside of buildings. Most everyone assumes that our apps are tracking us 24 hours a day, but even when … [Read more...] about Spying, Supportive, Shining: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
Does super speed come at a price, Sonic? Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Sega of America When it comes to fictional animals capable of breaking the sound barrier, there's no beating Sonic the Hedgehog, but would he be able to survive his own super swiftness? Sonic's the star of the long-running Sega video game franchise, where he spins and rolls at breakneck speeds in order to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik. How fast does he go? As his name implies, he reaches sonic speeds, meaning that he can travel as fast as a soundwave through Earth's atmosphere: roughly 767 miles (1,235 kilometers) per hour, depending on air temperature. He also becomes "Super Sonic," so it's safe to assume he exceeds the speed of sound as well. That's incredibly fast! Consider that the world's fastest organism, the peregrine falcon, only reaches a maximum speed of 200 miles (323 kilometers) per hour. For sustained speeds, the cheetah is Sonic's closest rival at a mere 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour. Sonic … [Read more...] about Would Sonic the Hedgehog Be Able to Survive His Own Speed?
The now-discredited Andrew J. Wakefield was the lead doctor on this retracted study that claimed to link vaccinations to autism. Despite being retracted, many people still believe the two are connected. HowStuffWorks Some people like to characterize science as a religion. In this formulation, scientists are the modern equivalent of medieval theologians. They hand down precepts and dogmas that we take on faith, because there's no way for laypeople to keep track of all the exciting study results flooding out of laboratories every day. But science doesn't have, say, a Pope in charge of the show. And there's no Vatican Council calling the shots either, telling us what to believe. What science does have is a method for investigating the world around us. That method has brought us modern medicine and all the high-tech accoutrements of the 21st century. But the method isn't foolproof and, with alarming frequency, some of those exciting study results prove unreliable. The thing is, when … [Read more...] about Database of 18,000 Retracted Scientific Papers Now Online